Abbas blames Iran for thwarting Palestinian reconciliation
PA president: Tehran didn't want Hamas to sign deal, Palestinians must be freed from Iranian tutelage.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, winding up a visit to Tunisia, on Saturday blamed Iran for blocking reconciliation between his Fatah organization and rival Islamist faction Hamas.
Tehran's leadership did not want Hamas to sign the Egyptian-brokered reconciliation plan, Abbas charged. After Hamas had initially agreed to the plan, it was now citing a number of objections for not signing it.
Abbas said the Palestinians should be freed from Iranian tutelage.
Previous reconciliation talks between Fatah and Hamas had broken up without agreement, with disputes, among other issues, over a date for new elections. Egypt's plan foresees elections for June.
Hamas, in bloody fighting with Fatah in June 2007, gained control of the Gaza Strip, in effect setting up two seats of power for the Palestinians with the Hamas in Gaza and the Abbas' Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.
But the international community only recognizes the Palestinian Authority as representing all of the Palestinian areas.