The commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force (Quds force, or Qods, is the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps special forces unit, which is listed as a terrorist group/terrorism supporter by the U.S.), General Qassem Suleimani, recently had a secret meeting with a Hamas delegation, that included chairman of Hamas’ political bureau, Musa Abu Marzouk, and two additional high-ranking Iranian officials (secretary of the Iranian Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani and Shura Council Chairman Ali Larijani).
A member of the Hamas delegation said,
“During the meeting, the senior Iranian officials updated Hamas’s delegation about the expected developments in the region. The circumstances under which Hamas’s relations with Iran were created before 2011 have changed. The world has changed since the Arab Spring, both Iran and Hamas are not the same. Thus, we need to build our relations on new foundations.“
The Hamas member went on to say that the Quds Force general was ‘greatly offended’ by Marzouk’s remarks that heavily chastised Iran for not aiding the Palestine resistance; remarks that were exposed in January when transcripts of Marzouk’s conversation hit the news wire only to have another Hamas official make furious attempts to smooth things over with Iran soon after. The Hamas member continued,
“Suleimani told Hamas’s delegation that Iran was a staunch supporter of the Palestinian resistance before the nuclear deal and it will remain so after the deal. He emphasized that during the negotiations with Western powers, Iran never surrendered to the American pressure to make concessions on the Palestinian issue and refused to even open it to debate.“
The Quds Force general also stated that the notion that Iran supports the Palestinian out of pure self interest is completely wrong despite Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas stating that ‘Iran supports the resistance in order to strengthen its presence in the region.’ Suleimani said,
“The support for the Palestinian resistance is a fundamental ideological issue for us. We would accept anyone who stands with the Palestinian resistance, and we would not mind if someone else would replace us and support you. The aid we provide you might dwindle, but only as a result of the economic difficulties we are facing, and not because we have changed our stance toward Palestine.“
It was a little over two weeks ago that a report surfaced that the Iranian ambassador to Lebanon was offering compensation to Palestinian families involved in attacks on Israelis. The Quds Force general also called on Hamas to remain neutral in the Saudi-Iranian conflict stating,
“[W]hen our problems with Saudi Arabia will be resolved, those who aligned with this side or another will lose. Your battle is long and you must have the support of all the Islamic World.“
Does this signal strengthening ties between Iran and Hamas or is it just Iranian lip-service to Hamas? Sound off in the comments below!