1234 GMT February 19, 2020
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif slammed recent Israeli aggression and provocation in the Palestinian city of Beit-ul-Moqaddas and called for a united Muslim campaign against the regime’s expansionist policies.
He made the comments in an address to an extraordinary meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in the Turkish city of Istanbul on Tuesday.
“We should not allow any agenda or cause to compromise the main goal of this organization which is enhancing the unity of the Ummah against Zionist expansionism and in support of the establishment of a viable independent Palestinian state with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital,” the Iranian foreign minister said.
Zarif said the situation in Beit-ul-Moqaddas is inflamed as the occupying forces, in absolute contempt for international law, continue their expansionist agenda against the people of Palestine and Muslim holy sites.
“We strongly condemn this latest episode of Zionist aggression and provocation, which aims to alter the historical status in the compound, change the demography and assert control over the Islamic holy sites in the heart of occupied Al-Quds al-Sharif. It is but another tragic consequence of the illegal occupation of the Palestinian territory, and the persistent violation of the most fundamental inalienable rights of the Palestinian people,” Zarif said.
He said the Palestinian city continues to suffocate because of a prolonged siege characterized by checkpoints, occupying forces, illegal settlements, armed and violent settlers, and humiliation, discrimination and oppression of its Palestinian inhabitants.
“We should not also forget the two million Palestinians in Gaza, who remain under illegal blockade, in an act of collective punishment, and are deprived of basic necessities even vital medicine, clean water and energy. This deliberate humanitarian nightmare requires urgent remedy through ending the blockade immediately,” the Iranian foreign minister added.
He said, “We need to engage with one voice with the international community, particularly the Security Council, to put an end to the culture of impunity for the Israeli regime and compel it to cease and reverse its criminal policies and practices.”
Tensions erupted in East Jerusalem after a deadly shootout on July 14 outside the Haram al-Sharif, which Jews call Temple Mount.
Using the gunfight as a pretext, Israel set up metal detectors and surveillance cameras at entrances to the al-Aqsa compound.
The restrictive measures sparked criticism worldwide, with Palestinians saying that the bans were meant to expand the regime’s control over the holy site and change its status quo.
On July 24, Tel Aviv backed down in the face of protests as well as violent clashes and removed all the restrictions at the al-Aqsa compound, but tensions still remain high there.
According to latest figures, more than a dozen Palestinians were killed and about 1,400 others were injured in the al-Aqsa clashes over the past few days.
Earlier on Tuesday, Zarif said the Islamic Republic will reciprocate Washington’s “non-compliance” and “hostile” approaches toward the Iran nuclear deal through adopting “legal” and “practical” measures.
He said a committee tasked with supervising the nuclear accord known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has decided to review and implement these measures against US decisions, IRNA reported.
He said Iran has also initiated plans to prevent policies aimed at depriving the country from benefiting the results of the JCPOA.
The top diplomat noted that the US is extremely worried that the agreement increases Iran’s clout and undermines Washington’s “maneuvering power”.
Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani also said on Tuesday the Islamic Republic has lodged a complaint with the committee over the new sanctions imposed by the United States on Tehran, according to Press TV.
“With regard to the imposition of new sanctions by the US, in addition to diplomatic measures, which should be taken, a complaint had to be filed with the relevant commission (the Iran-P5+1 Joint Commission) and this has been done,” Larijani said.
On Thursday, the US Senate approved new sanctions against the Islamic Republic, which Iranian officials said violated the JCPOA.
The accord was signed between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries in 2015.
The Senate backed the measure by a margin of 98-2 with strong support from President Donald Trump's fellow Republicans as well as Democrats. The bill will now be sent to the White House for the US president to sign into law or veto.
The US Department of the Treasury on Friday imposed more embargoes on Iranian companies after the country launched the Simorgh satellite carrier rocket.