iran - AP - January 18 2011
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi speaking in Ankara, January 17, 2011. Photo by AP
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The Iranian government wholeheartedly supports the reconciliation of Palestinian political parties Fatah and Hamas that was announced on Wednesday night, Iran's state news agency IRNA reported on Thursday.

Iran also commended the new Egyptian government on its role in helping to mediate the agreement of Palestinian national unity, heralding it as a diplomatic achievement, according to Iranian Foreign Minister Dr. Ali-Akbar Salehi.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement hammered an historic reconciliation deal with the rival Hamas group on Wednesday, agreeing to form an interim government and fix a date for general election within the year.

The deal, which took many officials by surprise, was thrashed out in Egypt and followed a series of secret meetings. A Hamas spokesman said that representatives of Fatah and Hamas would soon travel to Egypt to sign documents that would officially authorize the agreement.

Salehi credited resistance to Israel and the unity of the people as being the two guiding principles that provided the basis for the Fatah-Hamas agreement. “Observing these two necessities would lead to the materialization of the Palestinian nation’s absolute rights," he said.

Salehi said that he hoped the unity agreement would lead to triumph over entities that he termed "ruthless occupiers," presumably referring to Israel and possibly the United States. Salehi also said that he hoped that the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt would soon be opened to Palestinian traffic, allowing the free flow of goods.

Fatah's unity government with Hamas collapsed during a five-day civil war in 2007 and ended with the Islamic militant group seizing power in the Gaza Strip. Since then, Palestinians have been divided between rival governments in the West Bank and Gaza, two territories they hope to turn into an independent state.