Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has met the leader of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, in Tehran, state media reported on Sunday, a day after a Hamas official said they held a meeting in recent days.

Iranian state media said Haniyeh, who has resided between Qatar and Turkiye since 2019, “briefed Khamenei on the latest developments in the Gaza Strip and the crimes of the Zionist regime in Gaza, as well as the developments in the West Bank”.

“Ayatollah Khamenei praised the steadfastness and resilience of the people of Gaza and expressed strong regret over the crimes of the Zionist regime, supported directly by Washington and some Western countries,” Iran’s state TV said.

Without elaborating when the meeting took place, Iran’s Tasnim news agency said the country’s top authority Khamenei “emphasised Tehran’s consistent policy of supporting the Palestinian resistance forces against the Zionist occupiers”.

In addition, Iranian defence minister said that the United States would “be hit hard” if Washington did not implement a ceasefire in Gaza, he was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency on Sunday.

“Our advice to the Americans is to immediately stop the war in Gaza and implement a ceasefire, otherwise they will be hit hard,” Mohammad-Reza Ashtiani said.

‘Urgent ceasefire’

Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan discussed the situation in Gaza and the need for an urgent ceasefire there with his Egyptian and Jordanian counterparts in separate calls on Sunday, a Turkish diplomatic source said.

Fidan exchanged views with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry on steps that can be taken to “stop attacks targeting the civilian population in Gaza” and to achieve an urgent ceasefire, the source added.

Fidan and Shoukry also discussed efforts to guarantee the unimpeded and continuous provision of humanitarian aid to Gaza, the source said.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday once again condemned the “im­­moral, unscrupulous, despicable massacre” in Gaza. He added that he would be visiting the northeastern Turkish village of Ayder on Monday, when US top diplomat will be holding talks with Fidan in Ankara.

“I will go to Ayder tomorrow,” he said during a televised rally in the Black Sea coast city of Rize, adding that he wanted to see the “urban transformation” of the remote region.

He also said that Ankara was “working behind the scenes” in an effort to stop the bloodshed and ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza. “Be assured that we are doing much more than meets the eye,” Erdogan said.

Source » dawn