TEL AVIV — A significant improvement in ties between Hamas and Iran has taken place in recent days with developing contacts between the two sides aiming to increase Iran’s financial support for Hamas.
At the beginning of the week, a delegation of Hamas officials reportedly met with Iranian officials at Iran’s embassy in Beirut. Among the Hamas delegation was Saleh al-Arouri, an official from the organization’s military wing and one of the architects of the Shalit deal, who has lived in Turkey in recent years despite Israel’s demand that he be expelled as part of the rapprochement deal signed between the two countries a few months ago.
In the last few weeks, al-Arouri has been seen in the Roman quarter of Beirut, home to the famous Dahiya, the Hezbollah fortress and neighborhood where the organization’s headquarters are located.
This week, al-Arouri, alongside Osama Hamdan, another Hamas official, participated in a meeting at the embassy with an official Iranian delegation. The most important individual in attendance from the Iranian side was reportedly Amir Hussein Abed al-Lahyan, officially known as attorney general of Iran’s speaker of parliament.
Arabic media reported that the two sides discussed the situation in the West Bank and ways to strengthen cooperation between the two.
The honeymoon between Hamas and Iran has clearly not ended. In an official statement, Hamas confirmed this past weekend that an official delegation from the organization participated in the swearing-in ceremony of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday, who was recently elected to a second term.
In the movement’s statement, Hamas said that the delegation of its officials, led by politburo member Izzat al-Risheq “and with the participation of the brothers Zaher Jabarin, Saleh al-Arouri and Osama Hamdan, answered the respectable invitation of the Islamic Republic of Iran, an invitation given to the movement’s political chief Ismail Haniyeh and the movement’s leadership to participate in the swearing-in ceremony of the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hassan Rouhani.”
The statement also said, “The participation of Hamas in a high-level delegation comes in consideration of the large role Iran plays in supporting our people, in supporting our rights and supporting our heroic resistance. The participation highlights the importance the movement places on strengthening relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran and the positive development of these relations with the Palestinian people in favor of our issue and our justification.”
It should be noted that alongside al-Arouri, Zaher Jabarin, considered the most senior figure in Hamas’ military wing, also participated in the delegation, indicating that the choice to participate in the delegation was not coincidental and is a clear step by Hamas to increase Iranian support for the organization, especially its military wing.