Iran leader says US plan to 'destroy Palestinian identity'

Tehran (AFP) –


Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the objective of a US plan for Middle East peace was to "destroy Palestinian identity", as he met Monday with a Hamas delegation.

US President Donald Trump's adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner has been pushing what he calls the "opportunity of the century" -- a controversial plan that would pump $50 billion into the Palestinian economy.

Khamenei took aim at it as he hosted a Hamas delegation in Tehran led by Saleh al-Arouri, deputy head of the Palestinian Islamist movement's political bureau.

"The objective of this dangerous plot is to destroy Palestinian identity" and we should not allow them "to destroy Palestinian identity by using money," said the supreme leader.

"One of the ways to confront this plot is for the Palestinian people to feel that they have progressed.

"Not so long ago, Palestinians would fight with stones but today, instead of stones, they are equipped with precision missiles and this means a feeling of progress."

Monday's meeting was the second between Arouri and senior Iranian officials in little more than a month.

On June 17, he held talks with Iran's intelligence minister Mahmoud Alavi in Beirut, where they agreed to "confront the dangers" of the US plan.

They also agreed on the need to "confront challenges and dangers arising from the US government's insistence on imposing" its so called "deal of the century", state news agency IRNA reported at the time.

The US peace plan, yet to be unveiled in full, has already been rejected by the Palestinians, who say Trump's policies have been blatantly biased in favour of Israel.