Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Reuters

Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said on Monday that the objective of a US plan for Middle East peace was to "destroy Palestinian identity", AFP reports.

His comments came as he met with a Hamas delegation in Tehran led by Salah Al-Aruri, the deputy head of the group’s political bureau and a sanctioned terrorist in the US.

"The objective of this dangerous plot is to destroy Palestinian identity" and we should not allow them "to destroy Palestinian identity by using money," said the Supreme Leader, in reference to the Trump administration’s so-called “Deal of the Century”.

"One of the ways to confront this plot is for the Palestinian people to feel that they have progressed,” continued Khamenei.

"Not so long ago, Palestinians would fight with stones but today, instead of stones, they are equipped with precision missiles and this means a feeling of progress," he added.

On Sunday, Aruri and the Hamas delegation met Kamal Kharrazi, the chairman of Iran’s Strategic Council on Foreign Relations.

During the meeting, Kharrazi said that liberation of “Palestine”, especially Al-Quds, is among the greatest causes of Iran and later told reporters that relations between Iran and Hamas are growing.

Monday's meeting was the second between Aruri and senior Iranian officials in little more than a month.

On June 17, he held talks with Iran's intelligence minister Mahmoud Alavi in Beirut, where they agreed to "confront the dangers" of the US plan.

They also agreed on the need to "confront challenges and dangers arising from the US government's insistence on imposing" the "Deal of the Century".

Aruri also visited Iran in 2017. During that visit, he declared that Hamas and Iran have agreed to set aside their past differences.

The 2017 visit of the Hamas delegation to Iran appeared to mark the end of the disconnect between the sides, which began when Hamas refused to support Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, a close ally of Iran's, in the uprising against him. An angry Iran then reportedly stopped supplying the terror group with weapons.

The tide seemed to turn in the summer of 2017, when Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh thanked Iran for its "unlimited" support for the Al-Qassam Brigades and its contribution to the development of Hamas's military capabilities.