Hamas PM Ismail Haniyeh arrives in Tehran Iran 390 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl)
Hamas will not be subservient to Iran, the Guardian quoted senior officials in the Gaza-based
organization as saying Tuesday.
Last month, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail
Haniyeh visited Iran for a three-day trip in a show of solidarity with the
Shi’ite regime. The move highlighted the divide between Sunni Arab leaders and
Shi’ite Iran, as leaders from the Gulf states warned Haniyeh not to visit Iran
During the visit, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei said, “Iran will always be supportive of the Palestinian cause and the
Islamic resistance in Palestine.”
Salah Bardawil, a member of the Hamas
political bureau, denied that his organization would launch rockets at Israel in
response to a potential Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear sites. “If there is a
war between two powers, Hamas will not be part of such a war,” the Guardian
quoted him as saying.
“Hamas is not part of military alliances in the
region... our strategy is to defend our rights.”
The sentiment was echoed
by another senior Hamas official, who said the organization “would not get
involved” in an Iranian-Israeli war, according to the Guardian
Bardawil also downplayed the sum of money his organization
receives from Tehran: “In the early days of the blockade, the money was very
good, but it was reduced two years ago.”
Analysts and diplomatic sources
say Iran is unhappy with Hamas for its refusal to offer public support to its
ally, Syrian President Bashar Assad, who has hosted the Hamas
leadership-in-exile in Damascus for the past decade. Recent European and US
sanctions against the Iranian regime have also limited the amount of funds
available to Tehran for donations.