Published — Wednesday 21 November 2012
Last update 21 November 2012 8:24 pm
PARIS/TEHRAN: French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Wednesday said Iran bears a “heavy responsibility” in conflicts in the Middle East, especially in Gaza, where a week of violence has claimed more than 140 lives.
Fabius statement followed an announcement by Iran's parliament speaker Ali Larijani that his country has sent military aid to the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas in Gaza.
“We are proud to defend the people of Palestine and Hamas ... and that our assistance to them has been both financial and military,” Larijani said without elaborating, in remarks reported by parliament’s website, ICANA.ir.
Fabius, in an interview with France Culture radio, said “There are long-range weapons up to 75 kilometers (45 miles) and these are Iranian weapons. Iran bears a heavy responsibility.
“One finds Iran in Lebanon, in Syria, in Iraq, in Gaza and each time with very negative intentions. … The orientation of the Iranian government is extremely dangerous for world peace,” he added.
Iran has never made a secret of its support for Israel’s foes Hamas and the Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip but generally avoid mention of sending military aid.
The Jewish state has accused Iran of supplying Hamas with its Fajr 5 missile, used to target Tel Aviv since an Israeli offensive on Gaza was launched on November 14.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards chief General Mohammad Ali Jafari said on Wednesday that Tehran was only responsible for having shared the missile’s “technology.”
Jafari said: “Iran provides technical assistance to all Muslims who fight against world arrogance,” a term used by Iranian officials to describe the West and Israel, the ISNA news agency reported.
The Fajr 5 missiles launched at Tel Aviv “have not been delivered from Iran, but their technology has,” Jafari said, adding that the missiles were being “rapidly produced” in Gaza.
There have been heightened diplomatic efforts to end the fighting in the Gaza Strip, but a deal to end Israel’s offensive on rocket-firing militants remains elusive.
On Tuesday, Iran said Israel was solely responsible for the conflict in Gaza and should be tried for “war crimes,” stressing that the Palestinians must be “armed to defend” themselves.
This followed an accusation by Israeli President Shimon Peres that Tehran was encouraging the Palestinians to continue rocket attacks on Israel rather than negotiate a cease-fire.
“The unpleasant one is the Iranians. They are trying again to encourage the Hamas to continue the shooting, the bombing, they are trying to send them arms,” Peres said in an interview to CNN.