Iran: Hamas leader Mashaal set to visit Tehran

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian reports of impending trip by the Qatar-based Hamas leader, but refrains from announcing a set date.

December 28, 2014 04:13
1 minute read.
Khaled Mashaal

Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Mashaal.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal is reportedly set to visit Iran, according to the Islamic Republic's semi-official Fars news agency Saturday.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian told Fars of the impending trip by the Qatar-based Hamas leader, but refrained from announcing a set date.

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Hamas has denied previous reports that Iran invited the Islamist group's exiled leader to Tehran amid a rift between the two over the Syrian civil war that started more than three years ago.

The Iranians suspended their ties with Hamas after the Islamist movement refused to support the regime of President Bashar Assad.

Iran has been Assad's main ally during Syria's ongoing civil war.

However in the interview with Fars on Saturday, the Iranian deputy foreign minister downplayed the deterioration of ties between his country and Hamas, saying the "relationship between Hamas and the Islamic Republic of Iran have never been cut."

He added that Iran, "the Islamic countries and the region's public opinion will never leave the oppressed Palestinian people alone."

The Fars report came after a previous one in Lebanese daily As-Safir, which cited a senior official discussing Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah as playing a key role in mediation efforts between Tehran and Hamas.

Hamas's leaders in exile were once based in Damascus but left, mainly for Egypt and Qatar, in 2012 as the Syrian conflict escalated.  

Reuters and Yasser Okbi contributed to this report.

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