Iranian president meets militant Palestinian leaders in Syria

Iranian President &to=' target=_blank>Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met Friday with the leaders of the Palestinian groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Syria, expressing his support a day after 20 people were wounded in Tel Aviv in a suicide attack claimed by Jihad.

Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz has said &to=' target=_blank>Syria planned the attack and Iran funded it. But Iranian and Syrian officials have denied any involvement by their countries.

Shortly before he left Syria at the end of a two-day visit, President Ahmadinejad reiterated that Syria and Iran had formed a "front" to oppose what he called world "arrogance and domination," a reference to the United States and its Western allies.

In a final statement, the two governments expressed support for Iran's right to the peaceful exploitation of nuclear power and criticized what they called the "selective and double-standard policy practiced by some international powers in this regard." The remark was a reference to U.S. and European opposition to Iran's enrichment of uranium, a process that can produce material for atomic bombs.

In a second reference to certain Western powers, the statement said Iran and Syria demanded a timetable "for the withdrawal of occupation forces from Iraq."

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