Iran hosted an international conference to rally support for the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank on Saturday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The one-day Tehran International Conference on Palestine aimed to lift the blockade of Gaza and ensure more humanitarian aid for the coastal territory, said the statement. The conference, as part of Iran’s diplomatic efforts to back the Palestinians, was attended by officials, political, religious, media figures and scholars from more than 50 countries, the statement added.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, speaking at the conference, accused the United States of being the “first and biggest violator of democracy in the world,” and urged it not to “draw up plans for the future of Gaza, as the future of this region will be determined by its people and legal government,” according to the statement. Raisi denounced the “global hegemonic system” for violating human rights in Gaza, expressing regret for the deaths of many Palestinian civilians, including children and women, and the destruction of many homes in the war-torn enclave over recent weeks.
In a separate event on Saturday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei criticized the U.S. veto of several UN Security Council resolutions demanding a ceasefire in Gaza as a “shameless move and complicit” with Israel in its bombardments of civilians in Gaza, according to a statement published on his website. The Iranian leader called again on Muslim countries to stop exports of commodities, oil and fuel to Israel.
Israel has been waging a large-scale conflict against Hamas in the Gaza Strip since Oct. 7, after the militant group launched a surprise attack on southern Israel that killed about 1,200, according to Israeli authorities. More than 20,000 Palestinians have been killed.