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Mr. Laz
04-17-2006, 11:10 AM
50 million for Palestinians Iran pledges funding package
By NASSER KARIMI
The Associated Press

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran said Sunday it would give the Palestinian Authority $50 million in aid, moving in after the United States and Europe cut off funding to the Hamas-led government.

Iran has long had close ties to the Islamic militant movement Hamas and is believed to have given money to the movement in the past — though the Shiite clerical-led government in Tehran has denied that, saying its support has only been moral.

But the new money, if given, would be the first time Iran has provided funds to the Palestinian Authority, the government in the West Bank and Gaza Strip that until now was led by the moderate Fatah movement, which carried out peace negotiations with Israel, a policy shunned by Iran.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki announced the aid package Sunday during a conference held in Tehran in support of the Palestinians. Tehran previously had promised to help the Palestinians if other international funds were cut off, but Sunday’s remarks were the first time Iran has specified an amount.

Mottaki said the pledge was based on a long-standing policy to support the Palestinians, Iranian state television reported.

“Cutting the West’s financial aid to Palestine should not affect the will of the Palestinian people,” he was quoted as saying.

Iran’s hard-line president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, called for other Islamic nations to give money as he met with Hamas political leader Khaled Mashaal.

“Muslim governments and nations should provide comprehensive support to the Palestinian government to liberate Jerusalem,” Ahmadinejad said.

The funding could increase Iran’s influence with Hamas at a time when Tehran is also under international pressure. The United Nations has demanded Iran give up uranium enrichment amid accusations from the United States and Europe that it seeks to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran says the aim of its nuclear program is to generate electricity.

The United States and the EU have cut off hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinian Authority following Hamas’ victory in Palestinian legislative elections in January, demanding the group renounce violence and recognize Israel.

Hamas has asked Arab countries to provide funds. But despite promises to give the authority $55 million a month, Arab nations have not given any money since the Hamas election victory. Washington has been pressuring Arab countries not to give money, and some governments are wary of seeing the Hamas government succeed, fearing it will inspire other militant groups.

Up until the Hamas victory, the Palestinian Authority had received about $1 billion in aid from the West.

banyon
04-17-2006, 11:45 AM
Gee, I wonder if this $$ came from oil? :mad:

Chief Faithful
04-17-2006, 11:49 AM
I like the idea of Iran spending it's natural wealth on un-productive government jobs.