Khamenei: Iran to Back Palestinian Intifada 'In Any Way We Can'

Iran's supreme leader rejects U.S. accusations that recent wave of Palestinian stabbing and car-ramming attacks amount to 'terrorism.

AP

Iran's supreme leader said on Wednesday that Iran would support the Palestinian uprising against Israel "in any way we can," and rejected U.S. accusations that a recent wave of Palestinian knife and car-ramming attacks amounted to "terrorism."

Khamenei was speaking a day after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, during a visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories, described the spate of attacks as "terrorism" that should be condemned. 

Israel and the United States have long accused Iran of supplying arms to the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, considered by Washington as a terrorist organisation. Tehran says it gives only moral, financial and humanitarian support. 

"Despite all the efforts of the Arrogance (the United States) ... and even with cooperation from Arab countries, the Palestinian intifada has started in the West Bank," state television quoted Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as saying. 

"We will defend the movement of the Palestinian people with all of our existence, and in any way and as long as we can," Khamenei reportedly told a gathering of the Basij, Iran's volunteer militia. 

Khamenei criticized those who call Palestinians "terrorists" saying they were people protesting the occupation of their land. 

Since Oct. 1, at least 86 Palestinians have been killed, some while carrying out assaults and others in clashes with Israeli forces. At least 19 Israelis and an American have been killed in Palestinian attacks. 

The current wave of Palestinian violence against Israelis has stemmed from assertions by Arab leaders that Israel is changing the status quo on the Temple Mount banning non-Muslim prayer at the flashpoint site holy to both Jews and Muslims.

The Palestinians are also frustrated by the failure of decades of peace talks to deliver them an independent state.