Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
(photo credit: ATTA KENARE / AFP)
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Jawad Zarif hosted a delegation of senior Hamas officials in Tehran on Monday. The delegation was in town to take part in the swearing-in ceremony of Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, who was reelected in May.
According to a statement by the Gaza-based group “The visit has opened a new page in our bilateral relations with Iran aimed at confronting the common enemy and supporting Palestine, the Al-Aksa Mosque and the resistance [against Israeli occupation].”
Hamas's statement also quoted Zarif as saying that Iran planned to “maintain relations with the Palestinian factions, led by Hamas, and maintain its support for the Palestinian resistance”.
Relations between the two sides have been tense since the beginning of the conflict in Syria in 2011. Hamas’s refusal to support the regime of President Bashar Assad, Iran’s major ally in the region, has angered Tehran, prompting it to cut off its financial and military aid to the Gaza-based movement.
According to the Palestinian sources cited in the Asharq Al-Awsat report, Hamas's decision to seek warmer ties with Tehran was spurred in part by the Gaza-based Islamist group's recent disassociation with the Muslim Brotherhood - of which it is an offshoot - along with condemnation as a terrorist group by US President Donald Trump.