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Hamas leader credits Iran in Gaza victory

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Baqer Nasir/Mehr News Agency/AP

(Read caption) Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (l.) welcomed Hamas political chief Khaled Meshal at the presidency in Tehran Feb. 1. Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Saeed Jalil (r.) looked on.

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Hamas political chief Khaled Meshal traveled to Iran on Sunday, continuing a regional diplomatic tour by voicing again Hamas “victory” over Israel, and briefing Iranian officials on the results of 22 days of war. He also gave Iran a very public pat on the back.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran has a big share in our victory in the Gaza Strip," said Mr. Meshal, who met Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Iranian television showed Mr. Meshal receiving a warm embrace from Ayatollah Khamenei, whose nation supported Hamas throughout the conflict and accuses Israeli leaders of war crimes. Iranian officials have turned the Gaza war - and its lopsided death toll, with 1,330 Palestinians killed compared to 13 Israelis - into a rallying cry of resistance against Israel and its American backers.

Hamas opposed to permanent cease-fire until 'occupation' ends
In the company of friends, Meshal said that Hamas would not agree to a cease-fire while Israel continued its 19-month economic blockade of Gaza. “The resistance is against a permanent cease-fire," the Hamas leader said. "While the occupation continues, a permanent cease-fire has no meaning."

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