Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh completed a three-day visit to Iran where he advocated armed resistance to fight Israel and praised support from the Iranian regime.
"Gun is our only response to Zionist regime. In time, we have come to understand that we can obtain our goals only through fighting and armed resistance and no compromise should be made with the enemy," Haniyeh was quoted as saying in the Iranian news outlet Fars News Agency (FNA) on Monday.
"[The] presence of [the] Zionist regime inside Palestine is the root of all regional problems and this presence poses a threat not only to Palestine but also to the whole region," Haniyeh said.
He arrived in Tehran on Friday and spoke at a Feb. 11 rally commemorating the 33rd anniversary of the 1979 Iranian revolution. "They (West) want from us to stop resistance and acknowledge Israel but I herewith announce that this will never happen," he declared. "Our message and the message of all those who lost their blood in the Palestinian lands is that all occupied lands will eventually be liberated from Israeli occupation."
In an interview Monday with an Iranian TV station Haniyeh praised Iran's "unconditional support" for the Palestinians. "Iran's support for the resistance and the Palestinian people stems from an Islamic commitment and belief and moral and political values."
"The reality is that the Palestinians are under occupation and the Islamic Republic of Iran has faithfully heeded their appeal for help," he said. "Iran never asked for anything in return for its support."
During a meeting with Haniyeh Sunday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "stressed Iran's continued support for the Palestinian nation, and said resistance is the only way to liberate Palestine from the occupation of the Zionist regime."
That same day, Supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei told Haniyeh that Iran saw the Palestinian issue as a problem for Iran and emphasized that Tehran supports the Palestinian resistance.
Haniyeh traveled to Abu Dhabi on Monday. He already visited Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain as part of his second tour outside of Gaza since Hamas gained control of the Strip in 2007. Last month Haniyeh visited Egypt, Sudan, Turkey and Tunisia.