Iran rejects G7 calls to stop supporting Hamas

Josep Borrell (left) the European Union's foreign policy chief, stands with the foreign ministers of G7 countries in Tokyo, Nov. 8, 2023. [AP Photo]

Iran on Thursday rejected a G7 statement that called on Tehran to stop supporting Hamas militants and taking actions that "destabilize" the Middle East.

Tehran's comment came a day after foreign ministers from the G7 group of advanced economies, meeting in Tokyo, expressed support for "humanitarian pauses and corridors" in the Israeli-Hamas war.

Israeli airstrikes have pounded the Palestinian territory of Gaza since Hamas gunmen stormed across the heavily militarized border on October 7 to kill more than 1,400 people, most of them civilians, and seize around 240 hostages, according to Israeli officials.

The subsequent Israeli bombing campaign in Gaza has killed more than 10,500 people, two-thirds of them women and children, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

The G7 also called on Iran to "refrain from providing support for Hamas and taking further actions that destabilize the Middle East, including support for Lebanese Hezbollah and other nonstate actors."

On Thursday, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanani "strongly condemned" the statement by the group, made up of the United States, Britain, Germany, Canada, Italy, France and Japan.

He said Iran has engaged in "nonstop efforts to stop military attacks of the Zionist aggressor regime [Israel] on the defenseless citizens" in Gaza.

"What was expected from the meeting of the Group of Seven foreign ministers in Tokyo was to fulfill their international responsibility, including condemning the acts of the Zionist regime that violate human rights and international law in Gaza."

Iran, which supports Hamas financially and militarily, has hailed the militant group's attack on Israel as a "success" but denied any involvement.

President Ebrahim Raisi has said Iran sees it as "its duty to support the resistance groups" but insisted that they act independently.

Iran does not recognize Israel and has made support for the Palestinian cause a centerpiece of its foreign policy since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

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