TEL AVIV – Tehran rebutted a Hamas official’s claim that the terror group has not received money from Iran since 2009, saying it continues to fund Hamas because fighting Israel is Iran’s “principled policy.”
Speaking at his weekly press conference in Tehran, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari called the Palestinian issue “pivotal and basic” for Muslims.
“Since the victory of the Islamic Revolution (in 1979), the Islamic Republic of Iran has declared that supporting the Palestinian nation and the Palestinian Resistance Movement is among its fixed policies and has continuously taken some measures on this path,” Ansari said.
Ansari’s comments contradict statements made by senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk, who, in a phone conversation leaked to London-based daily A-Sharq al-Awsat, claimed: “We haven’t gotten anything from them since 2009, and everything [the Iranians] are saying is a lie.”
Meanwhile, the head of Hamas’ political wing Khaled Mashaal rejected an offer from Iran for renewed financial aid. The offer was given on condition that Hamas declare its allegiance to Shi’ite Iran and act as mediator to improve ties between the Islamic Republic and Sunni states such as Sudan. Fearing that Hamas would lose its support among Sunni Arab states, Mashaal turned down the money.
According to the Times of Israel, relations between Iran and Hamas have been shaky since the outbreak of Syria’s civil war in 2011, when Hamas came out against Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Last week, Breitbart Jerusalem reported Iran continues to fund Hamas’s restoration of the terror group’s network of tunnels, including those reaching into Israeli territory, according to a top Hamas diplomatic source.
“The military wing has ensured the preparedness of our tunnels some time ahead of schedule,” the Hamas source said.
The Hamas source added that the expedited project was made possible thanks to a grant from the Iranian government.
Despite tensions between Hamas’ political leadership and Iran, he stressed, Tehran’s financial support for the organization’s military wing has been unhindered, and the relationship between the field commanders and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards remains cordial.
This was recently expressed by an exchange of condolences between Hamas and Hezbollah over the killing of their respective operatives in action.
The Hamas source also said that Iran’s financial support has no connection to the lifting of international sanctions on the Tehran regime last month.