ISLAMIC JIHAD leader Ramadan Shalah (left) meets with Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan in Tehran on Tuesday.
(photo credit: IRANIAN MEDIA)
After a two-year cessation, Iran is attempting to bring Islamic Jihad back into its fold by renewing financial support for the Palestinian terrorist organization, sources affiliated with the organization told the London-based daily Arab newspaper a-Sharq al-Awsat on Wednesday.
Iran’s decision to re-embrace Islamic Jihad after two years of strained relations came following a visit to Iran in April by a high-level delegation from the organization, led by Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Shalah.
During his meetings with senior Iranian leaders and the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force, Qassem Suleimani, Shalah lauded Iran for its exclusive support for the “Palestinian intifada.”
“The defense of Palestine amounts to a defense of Islam,” Shalah said then, adding that: “The Arab states did not support the popular uprising in Palestine and will never support it since it contradicts their leaders’ agendas. Iran is the only state that supports the intifada and the martyrs’ families.”
According to the sources affiliated with the Islamic Jihad, Iran viewed this statement as a renewed pledge of allegiance by the organization to the state.
The major part of Iran’s new vision for the Palestinian terrorist organization was Suleimani’s decision to conduct a reshuffle in the organization’s military wing, the Quds Brigades, by appointing Khaled Mansour as the brigades’ commander.
Mansour, a crony of the Iranian leadership, is one of the senior commanders of the Quds Brigades and he is highly regarded in the Islamic Jihad.
According to Suleimani’s move, 70 million dollar of financial aid will now arrive directly from Revolutionary Guard’s treasury to the Quds Brigades.
Iran’s decision to renew its alliance with the Islamic Jihad is mainly an attempt to rebuke Hamas for rejecting Iran’s Foreign Minister Muhammad Javad Zarif’s initiative to renew relations in exchange for Hamas declaring its support for Iran in its conflict with other regional Arab states.