Iran may drop Palestinian cause, Hamas official says

Iran may drop Palestinian cause, Hamas official says

Moussa Abu Marzouk hints that in light of nuclear deal, Tehran could choose to reduce support for terror groups

Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk, September 18, 2014. (AP/Khalil Hamra)
Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk, September 18, 2014. (AP/Khalil Hamra)

The nuclear agreement signed between Iran and world powers may have negative effects on the Palestinians, as Tehran may choose to focus its efforts on interests it shares with the US, a senior Hamas official said Wednesday.

In a Twitter post, Moussa Abu Marzouk hinted that in light of the deal, Iran may no longer want to be regarded as a supporter of terror, and could thus drastically decrease its aid to groups such as the Gaza-based Hamas. “After the nuclear deal, Iran will become a major player in all crises in the region,” Abu Marzouk offered, and will likely drop the Palestinian cause, “given the relations between Iran and Hamas at this time.”

Last month, Abu Marzouk said that while Iran’s aid “greatly helped the resistance in Palestine,” funds designated to Hamas from Tehran have seen a sharp decline. “The relations between Hamas and Iran are not advancing in a direction in which the organization (Hamas) is interested and aren’t improving to the degree the organization wants in order to help the Palestinian issue,” Abu Marzouk said during an interview with Al Jazeera.

He added Iran had provided both military aid and funds for the government and families in the Gaza Strip.

Abu Marzouk’s remarks last month came on the heels of a visit by senior Hamas officials to Riyadh in what has been deemed indicative of a shift in allegiance by Gaza’s Islamist rulers from Shiite Iran, which has provided it with arms and money in recent years, to Sunni Saudi Arabia.

Iranian support for Hamas cooled in recent years when, to Tehran’s ire, Hamas distanced itself from embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Hamas’s assertion that Iran’s funding has largely ceased runs contrary to statements by the Islamic Republic that, notwithstanding the nuclear agreement with the US and world powers, it will continue to support its allies in Palestine and elsewhere.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned that should Iran’s billions of dollars in frozen funds oversees be freed up, that money will allow Tehran to further its backing for terrorist groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Avi Issacharoff contributed to this report.

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