Facing increasing pressure from Egypt and deteriorating economic conditions in Gaza, Hamas has been flirting with the notion of re-entering the Iranian camp.
Now, Al-Monitor is reporting that Iranian monetary aid has officially resumed to Hamas, but at a lower level than what was provided before ties between the two broke. The report also cited a source close to Hamas’ political leadership who says Iran is planning to receive Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal. Qatar was mediating discussions between Iran and Hamas in an effort to restore ties, after a two-year hiatus.
Syria’s civil war led to the split. Iran, trying to protect its Shiite axis, backed dictator Bashar al-Assad and ordered its Lebanese terror proxy Hizbollah to help shore up the regime. Hamas, a Sunni movement, allied with anti-Assad rebels.
Iranian Shura Council head Ali Larijani announced the resumption of relations between the two sides on March 10. Larijani stated that “Iran is supporting Hamas on the grounds that it is a resistance movement. … Our relationship with [Hamas] is good and has returned to what it was. We have no problems with [Hamas].” It is clear that their differences in Syria do not trump Hamas and Iran’s shared desire to facilitate Israel’s destruction.
The Israeli Navy recently intercepted an Iranian ship earlier this month that carrying advanced weaponry for the Gaza strip. Even though Palestinian Islamic Jihad was the likely recipient of most of the payload, Israel officials believe some of the arms were meant for Hamas as well. Military-ruled Egypt is increasingly isolating Hamas and engaging in a concerted campaign to destroy the terrorist organization’s smuggling tunnels. This new report showing renewed financial assistance demonstrates that Hamas is on its way to fully restoring ties with its Iranian patron.
Originally published at The Investigative Project on Terrorism. / Steve Emerson