Iran Says it Denied Abbas’s Request to Visit Tehran

Iran has denied a request by Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas to visit Tehran, a senior Iranian official said Wednesday.

Speaking to the Hamas-affiliated Al-Risala website, the advisor to the Iranian Parliament Speaker for International Affairs, Hossein Sheikholeslam, dismissed the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) officials' claims that Abbas will make a trip to Tehran in October.

"They requested the visit more than once but we haven’t accepted it yet; they have recently repeated their demand once again but we have not provided them with a positive response," he said, according to the news website.

Sheikholeslam also stressed Tehran's full support for the “resistance front”, adding that no one can destroy the friendship and strategic relations between Iran and Hamas.

Last week, PLO Ahmed Majdalani who is an aide to Abbas claimed that the PA chairman is scheduled to pay a visit to Iran within the coming two months.

The ties between the PA and Iran declined over the past 10 years in the view of Iran's support for groups which oppose the PA, such as Hamas with which Iran has had close ties.

However, Iran and Hamas have been at odds in recent over the uprising against Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. As a result of Hamas’ refusal to support Assad in the uprising, an angry Iran reportedly stopped supplying the terror group with weapons.

Nevertheless, the two sides have been getting closer in recent months, with a Hamas delegation visiting Tehran in December and a Hamas official later declaring that the visit had "opened a new chapter" in relations between Tehran and the terror group. 

But in recent days there have been reports of another rift between Iran and Hamas, which began when Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal met Saudi King Salman during a pilgrimage to Mecca in July. Saudi Arabia is Iran’s regional rival in the Middle East.

Following that meeting, it was reported that an angry Iran had canceled a planned visit of a Hamas delegation to the country.

Abbas last visited Tehran in August 2012, when he headed a delegation that attended the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit and held talks with Iranian officials on regional topics.


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