Moussa Abu Marzouk, a senior Hamas official, said Tuesday from Damascus, where he lives in exile, that a report circulated in the Arab press reporting a $250 million aid package for the Palestinian Authority from Iran was false.

abu Marzouk said Iran had promised "to support the Palestinian people in general, without specifying the kind or amount of support.

Hamas has acknowledged that it receives small amounts of money from Iran, saying it would not accept more because it wishes to preserve its independence.

update from:
Iran to give Hamas government 250 Million USD
2006-02-28 15:27:47

A senior Palestinian source reported that the Iranian government has promised Khaled Mashal, Hamas’ Political Bureau head, to transfer 250 million USD in aid to the Palestinian Authority (P.A).

The source stated that the Iranian support comes in effort to financially aid the P.A after the United States and the European Union cut their financial aid to the P.A after Hamas won the legislative elections.   

The promise was made to the head of Hamas political bureau, Khaled Meshal, while he was visiting Tehran.

A Hamas delegation is currently touring several Arab countries to explain the position and the policy of Hamas in running the government. The delegation will  conclude its tour by heading to Moscow for a three-day visit.

The movement had decided that Mashal would lead the delegation along with Mousa Abu Marzuqeh, Mohammad Nazal , Sheikh Said Syam, Sami Khader and Izat Al Rishaq.

According to a source in Hamas, Turkey also promised to support the Hamas-led government by providing financial support for rebuilding Gaza

Also on Tuesday, Hamas spokesperson, Sami Abu Zuhri, welcomed that decision of the European Union to grant $143 million in urgent aid to the P.A before the new Hamas government takes office.  

Abu Zuhri added that the U.S the Israeli efforts had failed in cutting off the international aid to the Palestinians.

Israeli online daily Haaretz reported that French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said on Tuesday that the funds were required to avoid economic chaos from paralyzing the Palestinian Authority.

After the victory of Hamas in the elections, the U.S government decided not to provide assistance to the Palestinian Authority, yet it is still due to decide whether it will contribute to Palestinian projects.

The official announcement of the US which ruled out any assistance to the Hamas-led government, was met by a silent position from the EU; the E.U has kept its future plans veiled.   

Meanwhile, the Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik, whose country now holds the EU presidency, said the aid will not change the EU demand that Hamas must "accept the principles of nonviolence, recognize Israel’s right to exist.

Hamas’ clear position is that the movement cannot recognize a country which is still occupying and oppressing the Palestinian people.  

Meanwhile, EU External Relations Commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, said that the E.U needs to wait in order to allow formation talks of the upcoming Palestinian government.

The EU said that it will provide the Palestinians with aid but not through the Hamas government; the aid will either be transferred directly to the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, or to humanitarian organizations.

EU officials said the aid package comprises $48 million to pay for the Palestinian Authority’s energy and other utility bills, $76 million for health and education projects and $21 million to help the authority pay its employees.