Jerusalem (CNSNews.com) - Iranian leaders encouraged Hamas political leader Khaled Mashaal to keep up the armed struggle against Israel and said that the Hamas victory in last month's Palestinian elections was a sign from God.
Mashaal and other Hamas officials are meeting with Iranian leaders in Tehran, part of a tour to rally support in other countries. Mashaal recently visited Turkey, and he's going to Russia next month.
Supreme Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the Palestinians never gave up, even when all doors were closed. "They continued their campaign and at last they saw that God's promises come true, one after the other. After the liberation of Gaza, Hamas won a landslide victory," Khamenei said.
Hamas took credit for driving Israel out of the Gaza Strip last summer. Israel decided to evacuate 21 settlements there on its own, for security reasons, it said.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said God would provide for the Palestinians and that they had a right to continue to fight Israel. "Based on international law, the future Palestinian government is authorized to fight to liberate the occupied lands," Ahmadinejad said.
"Israel was established on a sad day when the Muslims were asleep, but now they are waking up," he said. "Today there is a wave of Islamic awakening and a gradual collapse of western hegemony, and this is the reason the conquerors feel uncomfortable on the occupied lands."
Meanwhile, Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told reporters in Brussels that Europe had misunderstood Ahmadinejad's comments about wanting to "wipe Israel off the map."
"Nobody can remove a country from the map," he said. He meant that Iran does not recognize the Israeli regime, he said.
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