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Iran continues back-and-forth barbs with Palestinians over peace talks

By the CNN Wire Staff
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority would fail.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority would fail.
  • An Iranian spokesman urges caution in making statements against Ahmadinejad
  • The Iranian president criticized the Palestinians' decision to renew direct talks with Israel
  • The spokesman defends Ahmadinejad's election circumstances

(CNN) -- Iranian officials continued Sunday to trade barbs with the Palestinian Authority over its president's decision to renew direct peace talks with Israel.

The two sides have been publicly criticizing each other since Friday, when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the talks would fail. He made the comments on Quds Day, an annual holiday in Iran that marks the country's solidarity with Palestinians and calls for the end of Israeli occupation.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for the Palestinian Authority, fired back Saturday, saying Ahmadinejad, "who does not represent the Iranian people, who forged elections and who suppresses the Iranian people and stole the authority, is not entitled to talk about Palestine, or the President of Palestine."

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast warned Abu Rudeineh on Sunday to "exercise more caution in wording his statements," according to the semi-official Fars News Agency.

"(Ahmadinejad) was chosen with the overwhelming majority of votes, and is responsible for announcing the country's foreign policies as the representative of the people," Mehmanparast said in responding to Abu Rudeineh's allegations.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met for direct talks in Washington last week, pledging to move the peace process forward. After two days of meetings, they deadlocked over the contentious issue of Israeli settlements.

"The fate of Palestine will be determined on the ground in Palestine," Ahmadinejad said Friday. "Not in Washington, not in Paris, and not in London."

"These talks are death," he said. "There is no reason to hold talks."

Rudeineh, the Palestinian Authority spokesperson, defended the Abbas administration's legitimacy among Palestinians.

"We have fought for Palestine and Jerusalem and the Palestinian leadership has provided thousands of martyrs and tens of thousands wounded and prisoners (and) did not repress their people, as did the system of Iran led by Ahmadinejad," he said, according to Wafa, the Palestinian Authority's news agency.

Meanwhile Sunday, Iran's Mehmanparast said the passionate comments made by Ahmadinejad and the Quds Day rallies "shows their concern about the fate of Palestinian people and their occupied lands," according to Fars.

CNN's Mitra Mobasherat contributed to this report.