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Iran's Zarif steps up Gaza diplomacy, offers aid
Published Sunday 27/07/2014 (updated) 29/07/2014 16:35
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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif gives a press statement
in Vienna, on July 18, 2014 (AFP/File)
TEHRAN (AFP) -- Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif conducted a hefty round of telephone diplomacy late Sunday to rally support and humanitarian aid for Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip.

He spoke with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and regional leaders, stressing that the priority was to get food and medical aid into areas worst hit by Israel's military offensive, Iran's official IRNA news agency said.

In his conversation with Ban the top Iranian diplomat criticized the United Nations for "not taking serious action to bring an end to crimes committed by the Zionist regime" during the deadly conflict.

The UN chief responded by saying that the best efforts were being made "to initiate and maintain a sustainable ceasefire and put an end to the siege," IRNA reported.

Zarif also spoke to Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Iyad Ameen Madani, secretary general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, and Qatar and Turkey's foreign ministers.

He also spoke with Hassan Nasrallah, the chief of Lebanese political and militant outfit Hezbollah.

"Islamic states have huge resources and are capable enough to render invaluable services and assistance to people in Gaza," Zarif said in his conversation with Madani, according to IRNA, urging the OIC to cooperate with the Arab League and Egypt in getting aid into Gaza.

He urged all countries to increase pressure on Israel and its allies to "immediately halt their aggression" and said "any truce should go in parallel with removal of a blockade on the Gaza Strip."

Zarif said Iranian hospitals were ready to receive wounded Palestinians and that the Islamic Republic would send doctors and nurses to Gaza.

On Sunday, the Islamist Hamas movement fired more rockets at Israel, despite claims it had accepted a UN request for a 24-hour extension of a humanitarian truce in war-torn Gaza.

The Palestinian toll on day 20 of Israel's devastating military campaign in the coastal enclave rose to to 1,063, Gaza's emergency services said.

The renewed violence came after a rare 12-hour cessation in hostilities on Saturday, which was respected by both sides, with world powers urging both Israel and Hamas to extend the temporary truce by another 24 hours.
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1 ) Outlier / USA
27/07/2014 23:50
No surprise, since Iran supplied many of Hamas' missiles. Strategically smart, though plenty will remember Iran made this conflict worse than it had to be by providing Hamas those weapons.

2 ) SAM / US
28/07/2014 05:50
WEST CAN facilitate ceasefire by forcing bibi to end the siege

3 ) cathrine / UK
28/07/2014 07:58
If israel disarmed it would be better for the world

4 ) Augustus Sharon / Chile
28/07/2014 09:57
A pity that the people of Gaza do not understand they are being used and sacrificed by Iran and Qatar. Hamas has sold the people of Gaza to Iran. This is a war of Iran against Israel, while Hamas is filled pockets with blood money that Iran and Qatar pays Hamas. Do not allow Hamas to govern them not care about their life. I hope to publish this comment.

5 ) AKeenReader / UK
28/07/2014 10:09
# Outlier/USA... you are a hypocrite. It's OK for the US to supply or shall I say give $3 Billion of annual military aid to kill/ murder Palestinians but not for other countries to supply military aid to Hamas. You need to think first before you write stupid feedback.

6 ) Outlier / USA
28/07/2014 17:08
5., AKeen, yes the US does supply Israel, and it is just the sort of aggressive missile attack perpetrated by Gaza to cause this war that US supplies Israel to handle. Iron Dome is a defensive weapon. Iran's missiles are offensive weapons. Big difference. The hypocrisy here is saying the two are the same.

7 ) David / USA
28/07/2014 17:08
AKeenReader, you are an idiot. The USA gives Israel aid BECAUSE its neighbors are bloodthirsty psychopaths. Iran gives Gaza weapons because Iran wants war with Israel. Israel's weapons would be sitting in warehouses, UNUSED, if only Hamas didn't fire rockets and send terrorist raining parties into Israel. You really can understand that? Israel let in hundreds of tons of cement. What became of it? TUNNELS! Hamas will be destroyed and only the fleas and lice will mourn them. Catherine- idiot #2

8 ) NFZA / Iran
28/07/2014 23:19
Is it not noteworthy that the kidnapping and killing of the 3 teenagers which led directly to the arrest of hundreds of Palestinians in the West Bank without any charge happened right after the formation of the Palestinian unity government? There has been no evidence Hamas was responsible. the event This round of arrests is a clear provocation to push Hamas to give Israel an excuse to start aggression against Gaza. the cause isnt Hamas firing rockets, it's Israel not wanting a united Palestine.

9 ) reader / US
29/07/2014 00:29
The solution is to have all the settlers returned to where they came from and have the Palestians take over their own land, and to end the US taxpayers money hard-earn money that creates the apartheid regime of israel. Palestinians deserve freedom from occupation, Justive and Peace.
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