During talks on Monday with Hamas, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Khalid Mishaal, the movement's political leader: "We must make a plan so all Muslims will be able to supply the Palestinians with a yearly financial aid package."

"This voluntary gesture will create a spiritual bond among Muslims and the Palestinian cause and have a great impact on the world," he said.

Khamenei lauded Hamas for not moderating its fierce resistance to Israel after its upset victory in Palestinian parliamentary elections last month.

"The Hamas positions are fundamental and right," he said, praising Palestinians for electing the Islamic movement.

"The Palestinian people voted knowing it meant choosing resistance and fighting the Zionist regime."

Economic sanctions

The Palestinian Authority (PA), expected to be led by Hamas, is confronting a financial crisis after the faction's victory over Mahmoud Abbas' secular Fatah party.

Victorious Hamas leaders are
faced with a financial crisis

Israel says it refuses to deal with Hamas, which is responsible for the vast majority of bomb attacks against Israeli targets in the past five years, as part of the intifada (uprising).

Israel's cabinet slapped economic sanctions on the PA on Sunday, depriving Palestinians of $50 million in monthly custom duties, which account for around one-third of the national budget.

The US and the European Union are also threatening to curtail funding to the cash-starved PA unless Hamas renounces its call for armed struggle and recognises Israel's existence.

Iran and Hamas have forged a close alliance.

In December, Mishaal said Iran and Hamas formed a united front against Israel.