Iran Denies Role in Gaza Crisis

            Senior Iranian officials have vehemently denied any role in the Gaza crisis over the past week. Tehran claimed it only provides “spiritual” support to Hamas, and condemned Israeli strikes. But officials also criticized Arab countries and the international community for not taking decisive action to stop the bloodshed. The following are comments from Iranian officials recorded in the media.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
            “We should act based on a certain initiative to prevent the continuation of killings and bloodshed in Gaza, and consensus should be developed in the international arena against the Zionist regime’s acts of aggression…
            It is necessary that we make every effort to end the killing of women and children and the oppressed people of Gaza and Palestine.” November 18
Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi
            “The approach of the Zionist Regime results from the lack of a firm reaction by the international community, particularly human rights organizations, to this regime’s past and present war crimes.” November 18
             “Arab countries and particularly the Arab League and Muslim countries”
should focus on the conflict and “take practical measures to help the innocent people of Gaza.” November 15
            “These brutal assaults have preoccupied the public opinion in the region and the world with the possible implementation of the Israeli regime’s threats with regards to mass murder of the Palestinian nation and increasing instability and insecurity in the region.” November 15 in a letter to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Organization of Islamic Cooperation Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay and E.U. Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton
Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast
            “Unfortunately, amid the silence of the international organizations and institutions that are the self-proclaimed advocates of human rights, the killing of the oppressed and helpless people of Palestine has become a regular practice for the Zionist regime. The inaction of these organizations and institutions in dealing with these crimes has further emboldened the Zionist regime…
            The Islamic Republic of Iran regards the Israeli military’s criminal action of killing civilians as organized terrorism, and strongly condemns it.” November 16
Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani
            "We are honored that our help has material and military aspects, and these Arab countries that sit and hold meetings should know that the nation of Palestine does not need words or meetings... Our message is that if Arab countries want to help the nation of Palestine, they should give military assistance." November 21   
            “Israel will face a tougher defeat compared to its previous failure in the 22-day war against Palestinians [in 2008-2009]… In this unfair war, the great nation of Iran will stay by the side of the oppressed people of Palestine.” November 18
Mohammad Assafari, member of parliament’s national security and foreign policy committees
            “The Zionists’ hostile politics have thrown the calm in the Middle East into disarray…Israel no longer has a foothold in Egypt, so a change in the Camp David Peace [Accords] is necessary… Egypt must put the Accords to a public vote to determine whether the post-revolution Egyptian people should extend this disgraceful treaty, or not.” November 19
Abdollah Haji Sadeqi, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s representative to the Revolutionary Guards
            “The Zionist regime’s renewed attack on Gaza, which unveils its evil aimed at deflecting the public opinion from their [Israel and the West's] failure in Syria and is the consequence of the Arab leaders’ green light… Without a green light shown by the heads of colonialist governments, Israel could not have committed such a crime…
            The indifference of the Arab countries [toward Gaza] is tantamount to indifference to Islam and the fate of their own nations.” November 18
Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs
            “The Zionist regime wanted to target the arsenals and headquarters of Hamas and Islamic Jihad in a lightening attack... The war might have been started by the Zionist regime, but… the resistance movements in Gaza and Palestine will decide how and when to end the conflict.” November 20