February 23, 2017 | Quoted by Michael Lipin - Voice of America

Iran Uses Palestinian Conference to Spotlight Anti-Israel Rhetoric

Iran has held its first conference in six years supporting Palestinian uprisings, a forum that it says drew hundreds of delegates from 80 countries, reflecting the country’s resurgent clout on the world stage.

The two-day Sixth International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Intifada ended Wednesday in the Iranian capital, Tehran, with Iran’s president pledging more aid for Palestinians fighting against Israel. Tehran has long provided monetary and military assistance to Palestinian militants.

Iranian state media quoted President Hassan Rouhani as saying his people “have paid a high cost for supporting the Palestinians and opposing the Zionist regime of Israel’s actions, but they will continue their support with determination.”

Emanuele Ottolenghi, an Iran analyst at the Washington-based research group Foundation for Defense of Democracies, sees the anti-Israel rhetoric of Khamenei and Rouhani as more of the same.

“They were vitriolic in their rhetoric against Israel before and after the nuclear deal (was signed in 2015) under the Obama administration, and now that Donald Trump is U.S. president,” Ottolenghi told the VOA Persian Service. “This regime remains wedded to the idea that Israel must be destroyed.”

But Ottolenghi said the ability of Iran to organize another conference in support of Palestinian militancy after a break of six years is noteworthy.

“We know the regime is paying full expenses for people from all over the world to come, using Iranian taxpayer money,” he said. “Iran is using money it obtained from the economic windfall of the nuclear deal to advance its incendiary rhetoric.”

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