Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei promised increased support for Palestinian terrorists and urged them to stockpile arms in anticipation of a new war on Israel, according to public comments made Thursday following his meeting with members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terror group.
"Fighting the Zionist regime [Israel] is a war of destiny," Khamenei said after a meeting with PIJ’s secretary general, according to Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency.
Khamenei instructed Palestinians to "intensify their fight against the Israeli regime" and vowed that Iran would continue to arm Palestinian terrorists in both the Gaza Strip and West Bank, according to Fars.
All Palestinian terrorists groups—with Iran’s support—should rearm and prepare for another war with Israel, Khamenei said.
"The resistance movements in Palestine should boost their preparedness day by day and reinforce their power resources inside Gaza," Khamenei was quoted as saying Thursday, less than two months after Israel launched an intense several week war against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.
Khamenei maintained that the most recent war with Israel, in which thousands of terror rockets were dropped on the Jewish people, marked the start of the "divine promise" of destroying the Jewish state.
The supreme leader also discussed the importance of arming terrorists in the West Bank, which is controlled by the more moderate Fatah Party.
Iran said in late August, days after the last war officially ended, that Tehran had stepped up arm shipments to the West Bank.
"The enemy should feel the same worries in the West Bank as it does in Gaza," Khamenei said on Thursday, adding that Tehran will continue its support for the Palestinian "resistance."
"The Islamic Republic and the Iranian people are proud of your victory and resistance, and hope that the back-to-back triumphs of resistance groups will continue until final victory," he was quoted as saying.
PIJ Secretary General Ramazan Abdullah thanked Khamenei for Iran’s ongoing support for terrorism against Israel.
"Definitely, the victory was achieved with the assistance of the Islamic Republic," Abdullah was quoted as saying by Fars following his meeting with Khamenei in Tehran. "Without Iran’s strategic and efficient help, resistance and victory in Gaza would have been impossible."
Iran’s "arming" of the Palestinian factions in the West Bank has been "strategic and effective," according to Abdullah, who also noted that Tehran’s support has "re-energized the Palestinian fighters and raised their spirit," according to Fars.
Additionally, Iran on Thursday sent a plane of what it claimed is humanitarian aid and food to the Palestinians. The aid was said to be delivered via Egypt, according to Fars.
"The society has dispatched aid packages, including tents, blankets, food, and medical products worth $890,000 to Gaza," the Iranian Red Crescent announced on Thursday.
As the Obama administration contemplates extending nuclear talks with Iran through the November deadline, sources on Capitol Hill are warning that there is no way to stem Iran’s support for terrorism.
The potential extension of talks through November, which already marked the second deadline for progress in the negotiations, has experts and lawmakers worried that the Obama administration will concede to Tehran’s demands that it be permitted to enrich uranium.
"With the Obama administration poised to extend nuclear talks with Tehran once again, it’s business as usual for the Iranian regime, which continues to brazenly fund and incite terrorism across the Middle East," said one senior congressional aide who works on foreign policy issues. "Almost a year of negotiations has only served to boost Iran's economy, embolden its leaders, and buy Iran more time to continue its quest for nuclear weapons."