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Rapprochement Meetings in Lebanon between Hamas, Revolutionary Guard | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh REUTERS/Suhaib Salem/File Photo

Ramallah – Iran is holding meetings with Hamas and will allegedly resume its financial support for the organization, Palestinian sources said on Tuesday. Members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and senior Hezbollah figures were among those at the talks in Lebanon.

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 the sources, Iran and Hamas agreed to resume diplomatic relations to the level at which they were, before the Syrian civil war, when the sides broke off their close ties. It was also reported that Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh is expected to visit Tehran in the near future.

The agreement was supported by commander of IRGC’s al-Quds Brigades Kassam Soleimani, Ismail Haniyeh, and Hamas’ Gaza leader Yahya Sinwar.

Hamas reduced its staff and members by 30 percent including the Qassam Brigades because of difficult situations. Iran took advantage of Haniyeh’s elections as head of the organization to reinstate the relationship.

Iran supported Haniyeh reaching the leadership and didn’t support senior Hamas official Musa Abu Marzouk because of disagreements after Tehran accused Marzouk of falsifying truths when said that Iran was not transferring financial aid to Hamas or the Gaza Strip, and that relations between Hamas and Tehran were frozen.

Since the beginning, Iran was relying on Haniyeh’s diplomacy who leans towards reconciliation with Tehran unlike former leader Khalid Mashaal.

Based on the agreement, Iran relinquished it’s demand that Hamas take Iran’s side in its long battle with Saudi Arabia.

Sources believe that Iran sees this as an opportunity to win over powerful Sunni movements in its struggle with the Gulf states, including the Palestinian authority.

It is still unclear the price Hamas is going to pay in this agreement, but sources reported that the movement promised a strategic relationship for the best interest of the resistance.

The new relationship is beginning to reveal after Iranian leaders sent congratulatory messages to Hamas leaders.

Iranian Foreign Minister Java Zarif congratulated Haniyeh for wining Hamas elections and emphasized in a letter to Haniyeh the continued support of Iran for struggle of the “Palestinian people” until “the Israeli occupation is removed.”

Soleimani also sent a letter to Haniyeh congratulating him on his appointment as the new leader of Hamas.

In a letter published by Iranian news agency, Soleimani said that he expects a strengthening of ties with Hamas on the basis of jihad against “the arrogance of the world” and its satellite, “Zionism,” which are “working to divert the jihad of the nation from its Islamic compass.”

He emphasized that, within this context, all efforts need to be devoted to the service of “Palestine.”

Shura council leader Ali Larijani also congratulated Haniyeh on his elections and said during the phone call that the salvation of Palestine is the primary cause of the Islamic nation, adding that supporting Palestinian people is among Iran’s top priorities since the Islamic revolution.

Hamas issued a statement about the phone call which showed the improvement in the relations.

On April 06, Haniyeh was elected head of the organization few days after it announced the new controversial Hamas agreement. The agreement dissociated the organization from its wing the Muslim Brotherhood.

Iran wants to take advantage of the new situation dissociated with Brotherhood which was targeted by Trump administration.

Certain members of Hamas refuse the rapprochement with Iran fearing that this could be interpreted as a direct interference in the region’s struggle which could become sectarian.

Earlier, several Hamas activists and authors criticized the organization and even Qassam leadership for sending letters to Hezbollah mourning the death of several leaders in Syria.

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.