Hamas and Iran are working to normalize relations following a steep downturn in ties over the past two years, officials on both sides said this week.
Iran’s parliament spokesman, Ali Larijani, told Lebanese news channel Al-Mayadeen on Sunday that Iran’s relations with Hamas have returned to normal. Iran, he said, supports Hamas as a “resistance organization.”
Relations between the Islamic Republic and the Palestinian organization deteriorated following Hamas’s decision to abandon its headquarters in Damascus in January 2012, a move Iran considered particularly hurtful to its close ally Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Last October, Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk admitted that Iran had slashed funding for his organization following Hamas’s departure from Damascus.
“Iran used to be the most supportive state to Hamas in all aspects: money, arms and training. We don’t deny this,” Abu Marzouk told the Shiite-backed Al-Mayadeen news channel. “Our position on Syria affected relations with Iran. Its support for us never stopped, but the amounts [of money] were significantly reduced.”
Commenting on Larijani’s statement of support for Palestinian armed resistance, Gaza-based Hamas official Mahmoud Al-Zahar said he was not surprised.
“The Hamas movement and Iran have taken special measures and we will see many changes in these relations soon,” Al-Zahar told Iran’s Fars news agency on Monday, without elaborating on what those changes may be.
Asked about the Israeli capture of Gaza-bound Iranian arms ship Klos-C in the Red Sea last week, Al-Zahar echoed Iranian denials, claiming the entire story was fabricated by Israel to harm Iran’s relations with Hamas.
“The main goal of this scenario is creating a rift between Iran and the Palestinian resistance movement and exerting excessive pressure on the Hamas movement,” he told Fars.