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|Wednesday, December 20, 2000, updated at 10:03(GMT+8)|
Iran Opposes New Round of Palestinian-Israel Peace TalksIran opposed a new round of peace talks between Palestinians and Israel that are due to be held in Washington Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said Tuesday, December 19.
The negotiations are to be held under the mediation of Washington after more than 300 Palestinians were killed and thousands of others wounded by Israeli soldiers in over two months of bloody clashes.
"Any negotiation at this sensitive juncture is a step toward suppressing the legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people and at the same time indicates Israel's endeavors to get out of political isolation in the region," the Islamic Republic News Agency quoted Asefi as saying.
He added that the Palestinians have been fighting Israel for their legitimate rights, but negotiations at this time will divert the Palestinian struggle from its right path and prevent it from attaining its legitimate goal.
The spokesman said negotiations are only for short-term purposes and do not reflect a long-term solution to remove the root of the crisis, that is the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands.
"The only way to secure peace and security in the region is the removal of root-causes of the crisis and restoration of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people," Asefi stressed.
He reiterated that Palestinian refugees must be allowed to return to their homeland and the Palestinian people must be given the right to decide their own fate by establishing an independent state.
Iran does not recognize Israel and has always stood by the side of Palestine and other regional Arab countries, such as Lebanon, in their struggle against the Jewish regime.
Since the outbreak of the Palestinian-Israeli clashes in late September, Iran has strongly criticized Israel for its "atrocities" and called for world Muslim solidarity to confront the Israeli regime.
Iran has also sent tons of relief aid to the Palestinians and received a number of wounded Palestinians.
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