Iran cautiously backs Gaza truce deal

AFP , Thursday 22 Nov 2012

Ahmadinejad lashes out at Israel saying "Zionism is a serious threat for the world and downplays the threat of an Israeli attack on his country as "child's wish"

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks during a media conference at Iran's embassy after he attended the Developing-8 summit in Islamabad November 22, 2012 ( Photo: Reuters)

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gave a qualified welcome Thursday to a truce deal between Israel and Hamas, mediated by Egypt to end eight days of violence that killed six Israelis and 163 Palestinians.

"I agree that the truce is a good thing, but we will have to see the basis of this truce," Ahmadinejad told Pakistan TV channel Geo in an interview given in Farsi and translated into Urdu by the network.

Visiting Islamabad to attend the Developing Eight summit of Muslim leaders, he lashed out against Israel saying there was "no reason whatsoever for any military attacks" but made no mention of Hamas rocket attacks on the Jewish state, Iran's arch enemy.

"Zionism is a serious threat for the world. They have a hand behind all subversive activities and terrorism, and Palestinians are being made victims of Zionist plans," Geo television quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.

Ahmadinejad downplayed the threat of an Israeli attack on his country as "child's wish".

"They know that Iran does not attack others, but they have a desire to attack us and waiting for an opportunity, but we know how to defend ourselves," Ahmadinejad told a press conference at Iranian embassy in Islamabad.

"We do not take their desire to attack us as more than a child's wish."

Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal on Wednesday thanked Iran as well as Egypt for their support during the conflict, saying Iran "had a role in arming" his Islamist movement.

During the eight-day conflict, Israel said it hit more than 1,500 targets, as militants in the Gaza Strip fired 1,354 rockets over the border, 421 of which were intercepted by Israel's anti-missile system.

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