The State Department, reacting negatively to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's meeting in Damascus with leaders of two militant Palestinian groups, said Friday neither Iran nor Syria can proclaim themselves champions of the Palestinian people. The claims are "clearly bankrupt and hollow," said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack, citing Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas as calling for foreign governments to stop their support for Palestinian rejectionist groups. In fact, McCormack said, Abbas has called for Damascus to close down the headquarters of these groups, including Islamic Jihad. "This is one more example of the Iranian regime being out of step with the trends in the region," McCormack said. "The very words of the Palestinian leader prove that the stated claims of the Iranians and Syrians as championing the Palestinian people are clearly bankrupt and hollow." McCormack said.