Changes gripping the Arab world present a great opportunity for Palestinians, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said in a meeting with senior Hamas official Mahmoud Zaharin Tehran pn Saturday, Iranian state news agency IRNA reported.

Salehi stressed that Iran was committed to the cause of Palestinian independence, adding that during the recent summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran, his government pushed for the adoption of a strong stance on the Palestinian issue, which led to the issuing of a statement on the subject.

Zahar thanked his Iranian hosts for promoting the cause of Palestinian independence during the summit. He said he hoped the Non-Aligned Movement would do more to promote the Palestinians' standing in the international community, IRNA reported.

Zahar stressed that Hamas was committed to resisting Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced on Saturday that the PA has decided to seek United Nations recognition as a non-member state. This will happen, said the Palestinian president, despite United States pressure opposing the move.

Abbas, who spoke to reporters Saturday afternoon in the West Bank city of Ramallah, said the PA intends to submit the request to the UN General Assembly on September 27. “We are going to the United Nations so that it will confirm that we are a state under occupation. There are 133 states that recognize Palestine with its capital in Jerusalem and additional states with which we share diplomatic relations,” he said.