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Hamas Deputy Political Chief Saleh al-Arouri

Relations between Iran and Hamas are strong and both sides will stand together as allies on issues of regional importance, Hamas official Taher Al-Nono on Saturday told the semi-official Tasnim news agency. A high-level Hamas delegation, led by Deputy Political Chief Saleh al-Arouri, arrived in Tehran Friday. The delegation is expected to meet with top Iranian officials during a several days visit.

Al-Nono said that Hamas’ relations with Iran are strong and ever-growing, noting that the current visit by the Hamas delegation was part of both sides’ efforts to further strengthen ties.

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Ali Akbar Velayati, an aide to Iran’s Supreme Leader, received al-Arouri on Saturday in Tehran and restated Iran’s support for the “Palestinian people,” Mehr News reported.

“We welcome any opportunity to meet our friends of resistance groups, especially Hamas,” Velayati stated.

Velayati, who also acts as the Head of Strategic Research Center of Iran’s Expediency Council, told the Hamas official that he admires Hamas for taking a stance which he deemed “appropriate.” Velayti hailed Hamas officials for saying that they would never lay down their arms, and that laying down arms was the red line for Hamas.

Laying down Hamas’ arms and turning them over to the PA reconciliation government is one of the key deal breakers as far as Mahmoud Abbas’ PLO is concerned.

The Hamas official, for his part, described Iranians as members of the “Palestinian resistance” and added that it is “a must for Palestinians to regularly meet with Iranian officials and brief them about the latest developments in Palestine.”

“In this meeting I feel at home between my family members and brothers,” al-Arouri stated, adding, “I am sure that the issue of Palestine matters to Iran and Iran is always shoring up endeavors for the interests of the Palestinian nation and the cause of holy Quds, because Iran is the main supporter of resistance in Palestine.”

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