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Rouhani urges Muslim states to give 'firm response' to Israel's crimes

The file photo shows Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called on the Muslim countries to give a "firm response" to Israel's recent bloody military crackdown on mass protests in the Gaza Strip.

In a phone conversation with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani on Thursday, Rouhani pointed to the upcoming meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul and said, "At the Istanbul summit, the Islamic countries must give a firm response to the oppression and crimes against the Palestinian people."

Rouhani also slammed the recent relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem al-Quds as a "provocative" move.

Israeli forces killed at least 62 Palestinians during protests near the Gaza fence on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe), which coincided with Washington’s embassy relocation from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem al-Quds.

More than 2,700 Palestinians were also wounded as the Israeli forces used snipers, airstrikes, tank fire and tear gas to target the demonstrators.

Iran to stand by Qatar

Rouhani also pointed to the ongoing embargo of Qatar by the Saudi-led quartet of Arab countries and said, "The Islamic Republic of Iran considers sanctions on the Qatari nation and government an inappropriate and unjust measure and welcomes the promotion of ties and cooperation with Qatar as a friend and neighboring state."

Last June, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and the UAE imposed a land, naval and air blockade on import-dependent Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism - an allegation strongly denied by Doha.

The Saudi-led quartet presented Qatar with a list of steep demands and gave it an ultimatum to comply with them or face consequences.

Doha, however, refused to meet the demands and stressed that it would not abandon its independent foreign policy.

Rouhani expressed Iran's solidarity with the Qatari nation and government and welcomed the idea of establishing a joint cooperation commission to promote bilateral relations in all areas.

The president further underlined the importance of dialogue as the only way for the settlement of disputes. "Iran is always prepared to discuss regional issues with the Persian Gulf states. However, some countries assume that they should choose a way other than dialogue," he said.

"No power or superpower can be a substitute for good cooperation among the neighbors in the region," he added.

The Qatari emir, for his part, lauded "friendly and brotherly" ties between Tehran and Doha and expressed gratitude to Iran over its "constructive position" on his country's standoff with Saudi Arabia.

Sheikh Tamim also slammed the relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem al-Quds and Israel's massacre of protesters in Gaza. He said the OIC summit in Istanbul will serve as a suitable opportunity to discuss the regional issues.

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