Palestinians chastise Ahmadinejad over Mideast talks remarks
The Palestinian leadership has chastised Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for criticizing the renewed Middle East direct peace talks, the Maan news agency reported Sunday.
"The one who does not represent the Iranian people, who falsified election results, who oppressed the Iranian people and stole authority has no right to speak about Palestine, its president or its representatives," Nabil Abu Rudaineh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, was quoted as saying.
Ahmadinejad had said on Friday that the peace talks were "doomed to collapse." Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had met in Washington a day earlier for the first direct negotiations between the two sides in nearly two years.
Ahmadinejad also told worshippers during Friday prayers at Tehran University that the future of the Palestinian territories would be determined by the Palestinians themselves "and not in Washington, London or Paris."
Iran has offered financial and military support to the anti-Israel radical Islamist organization Hamas, which has been at odds with Abbas' more secular Fatah party for years - a feud which worsened when Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in mid-2007.
In his statement, Rudaineh argued that Abbas had come to power "through free, democratic and authentic elections" that featured more than 2,000 international observers.
"We are the ones who fought for Palestine and Jerusalem," he added. "The Palestinian leadership did not oppress its people as did the Iranian leadership under Ahmadinejad."