Manama, Bahrain – Iranian speaker of parliament Ali Larijani declared in Manama on Wednesday evening that Iran was proud of its support for the Palestinian Hamas and Lebanese Hezbollah movements, rejecting claims that it could be considered support for terrorism. He said the support was part of Iran’s commitment in the region to assist its neighbours in fighting occupation, and he accused the United States, the West and Israel of contradicting the values of freedom and democracy.
“They are freedom fighters fighting to defend their country and independence, that is not terrorism,” he said about Hamas and Hezbollah.
Larijani, who is on a two-day official visit to Bahrain, also accused the US of trying to incite border and sectarian conflict among the countries of the region to use it as an excuse to increase military sales for what he said was an effort to re-take the oil sales revenues.
He reiterated Iran’s call to neighbouring Gulf states not to allow US and Western military bases to be erected on their soil, insisting that Iran was never a threat to its neighbors.
“It was the Americans who encouraged Saddam to attack Iran and despite some of the regional countries support for him we never tried to seek revenge,” Larijani said. “We have repeatedly expressed our readiness to sign any security and economic agreements with our neighbours.”