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Iran Pledges to Continue Support of Hamas | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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London, Asharq Al-Awsat- Iran pledged to continue its military, financial, and moral support to the Hamas Movement even if Damascus abandons the latter, should a peace treaty be signed between Syria and Israel, the state of war and animosity between the two countries be ended by Israel handing the occupied Golan back to Syria, and the Syrian-Israeli border be declared secure and demilitarized. This statement was made by an Iranian source close to the talks that Hamas Movement Political Bureau Chief Khalid Mishal held in Tehran. Mishal held talks with Iranian political, security, military, and religious leaders, including Commander in Chief of the [Revolutionary] Guard Maj Gen Jafari, Commander of the Qods Force Brig Gen Qasim Sulaymani, and officials of the Defense Industries Organization, including Brig Gen Ahmad Wahid. Brig Gen Wahid promised Mishal to provide very advanced missiles that are currently being produced at the Martyr Bakiri Complex in Tehran especially for Hamas.

Mishal also met with Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Motaki and his two assistants for Middle East affairs, Dr Mohammadi and Mohammad Reza Baqiri. The source described the results of Mishal’s talks as fruitful and said they will have an effect at the regional and world levels in the future. Asharq Al-Awsat has learned that, during his meetings with senior officials in Tehran, Mishal expressed his concern over the progress of the Syrian-Israeli contacts. Mishal said Hamas has received assurances that the possible Syrian-Israeli peace will not be at the expense of Damascus’s relations with its revolutionary allies, including the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hezbollah, the Hamas Movement, and Islamic Jihad in occupied Palestine. He added: Yet, peace has its own obligations and Syria cannot sign a peace treaty with Israel, exchange ambassadors with Tel Aviv, end the state of war, and turn the Golan into a demilitarized zone and an island of stability and joint security with Israel and at the same time allow Iran to send weapons to Hezbollah through its territories, train the Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters, and transfer funds to Hamas and other groups through its banks.

Meanwhile, a source at the office of the Iranian regime’s guide, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, pointed out that the guide, who designated the foreign minister and his most senior adviser on political affairs, Dr Ali Akbar Velayati, to investigate what goes on behind the scenes between Israel and Syria, gave his blessings to a decision to increase the aid to the Hamas Movement to $150 million in the second half of this year.

Moreover, the guide [Khamenei] promised the Hamas Movement to secure all its needs of weapons, training, and funds if the movement rejects attempts to draw it to the negotiating table with Israel, whether directly or indirectly. Also, he called on Hamas not to make reconciliation with the Palestinian Authority. According to Iranian sources close to the guide, Khamenei believes that the Palestinian Authority is on the verge of total bankruptcy. An Iranian official quoted Khamenei as saying that the future of [Palestinian] President Mahmud Abbas, alias Abu-Mazen, is linked to that of Ehud Olmert and that both of them are drawing closer to their end. According to the same sources, Tehran seeks to make Damascus understand that it does not need Damascus to organize its relations with the revolutionary forces in the region and that it has its own calculations with Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah. Mishal’s presence in Tehran coincided with the arrival of Lt Gen Hassan Turkmani, Syrian defense minister and deputy commander in chief of the Syrian armed forces, in Tehran.

Last year, Lt Gen Hassan Turkmani visited Tehran where he signed a comprehensive agreement on defense, armament, and security cooperation between the two countries. For his part, the Iranian defense minister, [retired] Brig Gen Mostafa Mohammad Najar, visited Damascus several times on official and secret trips. He made a brief visit to Damascus following the killing of Hezbollah intelligence chief Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus. In addition to being a working visit as part of Lt Gen Turkmani’s regular meetings with his Iranian counterpart, there are other goals behind the visit. In recent years, Iran supplied Syria with quantities of military equipment and paid the bill of Syria’s military purchases from Russia, China, North Korea, and Belarus.

Moreover, the Iranian Space and Air Industries Organization set up factories and complexes in Syria for the production of missiles, rocket launchers, and chemical materials. Asharq Al-Awsat has learned that Lt Gen Turkmani who is accompanied by a delegation consisting of military, security, and political officials will convey the Syrian leadership’s answers to Iranian leaders’ questions on the level of Syria’s contacts with Israel and whether there is hope of reaching agreement between the two countries.