World Bulletin / News Desk
Speaking at a meeting of Iranian opposition figures in Paris on Saturday, former Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki al-Faisal argued that the Iranian government had supported a number of groups -- including Palestine’s Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda -- with the purpose of "sowing regional instability".
The accusations come amid an ongoing row between Saudi Arabia and Iran that saw Riyadh cut its diplomatic ties with Tehran earlier this year after two of its diplomatic missions in Iran were attacked by Iranian protesters following the execution by the Saudi authorities of a prominent Shia cleric.
In a Sunday statement, Hamas denounced al-Faisal’s assertions as "offensive to the Palestinian people and the Palestinian cause".
"Everyone knows Hamas is a Palestinian resistance group with an entirely Palestinian agenda aimed at serving the interests of the Palestinian people and their cause," the group said.
Hamas, which has governed the blockaded Gaza Strip since 2007, went on to reiterate that it sought "balanced" relations with Saudi Arabia and all Arab countries.
Last year, Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal led a high-profile delegation to Saudi Arabia for talks with Saudi officials.
Hamas also rejected remarks made by Khosro Orouj, an advisor to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, in which he accused the Palestinian group of seeking to enter into talks with Israel despite Hamas’ longstanding vow to never negotiate with the Jewish state.
In a separate statement issued Sunday, Hamas described Orouj’s accusations as "groundless and devoid of truth".
"Hamas will remain at the forefront of the resistance in Palestine until the liberation [of all of historical Palestine from Israeli occupation] and the return of the [Palestinian refugees]," the statement read.
In the past, Hamas has enjoyed strong relations with Shia Iran, but the group’s support for the armed opposition to the Iran-backed Assad regime in Syria has deeply strained relations in recent years.