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Iran cautiously backs Gaza truce deal

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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. — File photo by Reuters

ISLAMABAD: 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 a private Pakistan TV channel 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,” said Ahmadinejad.

The Iranian president 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,” he said.

Meanwhile, Saeed Jalili, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council and a close aide to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said, “Accepting defeat (only) after eight days shows the Zionist regime is increasingly weakening.”

He also congratulated the Palestinians on the truce, saying: “It shows the resistance is getting stronger on a daily basis.”

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