Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal speaks during a news conference in Doha, Qatar.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Three Hamas leaders from the military wing are persistently trying to restore relations with Iran, according to Palestinian sources.
Marwan Issa, the leader of Hamas’s military wing, the Kassam Brigades, and other leaders like Yehya al-Sinwar and Mahmoud Zahar, have maintained contact with Iran, sources told the London- based Asharq al-Awsat in a report published on Thursday.
The three continued to receive financial and military aid from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps uninterruptedly in excess of $45 million annually, even after the dispute with Iran broke out over the Syrian civil war.
Prior to the break in relations, Kassam Brigades had received much more money.
Relations between Hamas and Iran went downhill because of varying stances on supporting Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.
Hamas took the side of fellow Sunni rebels and turned against the Ba’athist regime.
Sources revealed, according to the report, that internal disagreement within Hamas has the military wing supporting the restoration of relations with Iran while the political leadership prefer building ties with the Arabs.
The political wing is worried that supporting Iran would alienate the group to the Arab masses and hence prefer to maintain strong ties with Turkey and Qatar.
Sources also said that Hamas allies sent delegates to Damascus last month, with Palestinian Popular Resistance Movement Secretary-General Abu Qassem Daghmash meeting with the secretary-general of the Syrian Arab Bath party.
Daghmash also visited Lebanon and met with General Security chief Maj.-Gen.
Abbas Ibrahim, who has close ties with Hezbollah, the report said.
Separately, a senior Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip told the Al-Monitor website in a report published on Wednesday that “Hamas’s political bureau settled the internal political debate by voting in favor of resuming relations with Iran, particularly after expectations waned concerning the relationship with Saudi Arabia.
“Hamas’s military wing strongly endorsed the resumption of said relations, especially in light of the urgent need for funds and military support that only Iran can provide,” added the Hamas leader.
Another unnamed Hamas leader told the website, “Relations between Hamas and Iran never ended, and were not affected during recent years. They diminished on some levels at certain times, but the relationship remained ongoing, at least on the military level.”