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By Safa Haeri
Posted Tuesday, March 23, 2004

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TEHRAN, 23 Mar. (IPS) Like all other governments in the world except the United States, Iran condemned strongly Israel for the assassination, on Monday, of Sheykh Ahmad Yasine, the spiritual leader of the Palestinian movement HAMAS, describing it as a "state terrorism" and calling on the Palestinian resistance organisations to continue their struggle against the Jewish State and its "brutal policies".

In a six-points statement, the Iranian government also criticisted some Arab and Muslim nations for their "indifference" and "soft attitude" towards the situation in Palestine and stressed further unity among Palestinians against Israeli threats, the official news agency IRNA reported on Tuesday.

"Undoubtedly, Israel’s main objective in adopting such terrorist measures is to bring the heroic resistance of the Palestinian people into its knees but experience has shown that martyrdom of any Palestinian inhales a new life to other Palestinians, their resistance and Intifada", the statement said, condemning also the United States’ "direct role in Israeli atrocities, including the murder of Sheykh Yasine".

According to the statement, with their silence, international organizations and communities, especially certain Arab and Muslim states, has "further encouraged Israel to go on with its policy of assassination and massacre".

Not only The Islamic Republic is possibly the only nation in the world, alongside with Syria, that openly supports all Palestinian and Arab groups opposed to peace with Israel, but also provides money, logistics and arms to many of them, like the Lebanese Hezbollah or the Islamic Jihad of Palestine.

Each year, all these groups, plus some Latin American so-called liberation movements of Marxist obedience and separatist groups like the ETA in Spain or hard line branches of the IRA are invited to Tehran to devise strategies against Israel and the United States as well as other "arrogant" powers of the "corrupt West".

The Iranian statement added that Israel has been insisting on its "policy of assassination, suppression and insecurity, proving that it considers its life depended on escalation of tension in the occupied lands and the region", and warned that the "US support for Israel and the global community’s silence against Israeli atrocities would undoubtedly result in continued instability, tension and atrocities of Israel in the region".

According to IRNA, all senior leaders of the Islamic Republic, including Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i, President Mohammad Khatami, Expediency Council Chairman Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Majles Speaker Mehdi Karroubi, Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, as well as Friday preachers and state-controlled foundations and organisations have thus far condemned the assassination.

In the absence of newspapers in Iran, all observing the Iranian New Year one week holiday, there was few comments on the assassination from local commentators or officials.

However, some foreign-based Iranian media, most of them based in Los Angeles, supported Israel’s action in killing the leaders of what they described as "Palestinian and Arab terrorist organisations", saying "the ruthless present Iranian rulers should also face same fate". ENDS IRAN YASINE 23304


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