Abbas confirms he will visit Iran, 'a sister country'

"There will be a visit to Iran, but no date has been set."

August 23, 2015 18:55
1 minute read.
Abbas and Rouhani

PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Despite denials from Iran, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas confirmed Sunday that he will be visiting Tehran for the first time since 2012.

Speaking during a meeting with a delegation of Polish journalists in Ramallah, Abbas said, "There will be a visit to Iran, but no date has been set."

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Abbas said that Iran "is a neighboring, sister country. Our relations with it were not good, but we have an embassy in Tehran, and therefore it recognizes us."

PLO official Ahmed Majdalani had said earlier this month that Abbas would be visiting the Islamic Republic in November.

Majdalani, a member of the PLO Executive Committee and a former PA minister, said arrangements were being made to prepare for Abbas’s visit to Tehran.

The last time Abbas visited Iran was in 2012, when he attended a conference of the Non-Aligned Countries.

Majdalani made the announcement after concluding his own visit to Tehran, where he held talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. The two discussed ways of boosting ties between the PA and Iran in the aftermath of the nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.

Majdalani said his talks in Iran focused on three issues: boosting bilateral relations, the Syrian crisis and the dispute between the PA and Hamas.

During the visit, the PLO official delivered a letter from Abbas to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Earlier, Majdalani said the two sides also agreed to work together in the international arena against Israel’s nuclear arsenal and weapons of mass destruction. He said the PA and Iran were planning to call for an international conference to discuss ways of disarming Israel.

The rapprochement between Iran and the PA comes amid reports of mounting tensions between Tehran and Hamas. According to reports, the Iranians recently canceled a planned visit by Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal to Tehran in protest against his visit to Saudi Arabia last month.

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