Authors: YASSER OKBI / MAARIV HASHAVUA, JPOST.COM STAFF
Posted on May 30, 2017
Iran has allegedly decided to resume financial backing for Hamas, Palestinian sources said on Tuesday.
The move came after representatives from the Islamic Republic and the Palestinian terror group conducted intensive discussions in Lebanon over the last two weeks, according to London-based Arab language newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat.
Members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and senior Hezbollah figures were among those at the talks in Lebanon.
Last week, Hassan Rouhani, considered by many to be a moderate was reelected as Iran’s president, beating a more fundamentalist rival.
According to the report, Iran and Hamas were also due to resume diplomatic relations to the level that they were before the Syrian civil war, when the sides broke off their close ties.
As part of the process, it was also reported that Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh was slated to visit Tehran in the near future.
According to the report, Iran relinquished its demand that Hamas take Iran’s side in its long battle with Saudi Arabia.
Relations between the two sides have been tense since the beginning of the conflict in Syria in 2011. Hamas’s refusal to support the regime of President Bashar Assad, Iran’s major ally in the region, has angered Tehran, prompting it to cut off its financial and military aid to the Gaza-based movement.
According to the Palestinian sources cited in the Asharq Al-Awsat report, Hamas’s decision to seek warmer ties with Tehran was spurred in part by the Gaza-based Islamist group’s recent disassociation with the Muslim Brotherhood – of which it is an offshoot – along with condemnation as a terrorist group by US President Donald Trump.
Hamas rejected Trump’s linking it to terrorism and said his description of the group showed his “complete bias” towards Israel.
Trump made the remarks during an address to the leaders of 55 Muslim countries in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and said they must take the lead in combating radicalization.
“The statement describing Hamas as a terror group is rejected and is a distortion of our image and shows a complete bias to the Zionist occupation (Israel),” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in a statement.
The US State Department has designated Hamas on its list of foreign terrorist organizations since 1997.
Reuters contributed to this report.