PA scolds Iran for interfering in Palestinian issues

PA Secretary-General Tayyeb Abdul-Rahim rejects Iran's role in Palestinian affairs, Ma'an reports.

PM Haniyeh and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad 390 (photo credit: REUTERS/Suhaib Salem)
PM Haniyeh and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad 390
(photo credit: REUTERS/Suhaib Salem)
Palestinian Authority Secretary-General Tayyeb Abdul-Rahim scolded Iran for intervening in Palestinian issues, the Palestinian Ma'an news agency reported Monday.
According to the report, Abdul-Rahim released a statement rejecting Iran's role in Palestinian affairs, saying it serves Israel's goals by exacerbating the split between rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas.
Iranian interference destroyed reconciliation efforts between the two groups, Abdul-Rahim said.
In March, a Fatah spokesman said that Iran paid the Hamas to block a deal with the rival Fatah movement that would have ended a five-year rift between the two main Palestinian factions.
He said Tehran had recently resumed financial aid to Hamas which it had suspended six months earlier over the Palestinian movement's failure to back Syrian President Bashar Assad in his military campaign to crush dissent.
Hamas has since turned overtly against Assad. But, according to Fatah, Iran is more concerned with supporting the armed Palestinian movement that is ready to challenge Israel from its Gaza Strip stronghold.
"We have information that Iran paid tens of millions of dollars to Zahar and Haniyeh in their visits to Iran," said Ahmed Assaf, referring to Hamas leaders Mahmoud al-Zahar who visited Tehran in March and Ismail Haniyeh who was there in February.
Assaf was responding to a comment by Zahar that Palestinian political reconciliation "is in the freezer now", despite a unity deal signed last month.
"Reconciliation is in the freezer because Zahar was the one who put it there and he got the price from Iran," Assaf told Reuters. "Zahar, Haniyeh and Hamas's Gaza leadership were paid by Iran to freeze reconciliation."
Hamas rejected the charges.
"The Fatah government did not implement any of their obligations (under the unity deal) and they prefer American money to nationalist agreements," spokesman Taher al-Nono said.
Reuters contributed to this report.