The Iranian foreign ministry has doubled down on its criticism of the UK for designating Hamas a terrorist organization, claiming the British move is just a tool to criminalize support for the Palestinian cause.
According to Iranian media, an Instagram post shared on Saturday by Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has been removed by the social media giant. Amir-Abdollahian had hit out at the British government's decision to label Hamas as a terror organization and reiterated his support for Palestinians.
"The rights of the Palestinian people cannot be violated by distorting realities," the now-deleted post read, according to local media.
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh reiterated Tehran's position in a tweet on Monday. "Terrorist designations by Western countries have become a tool to criminalise grassroots support for the Palestinian cause," the spokesman wrote, adding, "These #phony_designations don't just target groups that resist Israeli Apartheid, they primary target these countries' civil societies."
On Friday, UK Home Secretary Priti Patel outlawed Hamas in its entirety, labelling it as a terrorist group. The move was preempted by the Israeli government, who praised the UK for its leadership.
Hamas, which seized total control of Gaza in 2007 on the back of an election victory in 2006, had already been proscribed by the EU and the US.
In a statement, Hamas said it had a right to resist occupation by all available means, "including armed resistance."