Hamas says it has ‘resumed’ ties with Iran
Gaza City: The Palestinian Hamas movement has “resumed” relations with Iran after a temporary falling out over the Syrian conflict.
Mahmud al-Zahar told media, “Relations between Hamas and Iran have resumed.”
Ties had been “affected by the Syria situation, and Hamas has withdrawn from Syria so that it can’t be identified with this or that side,” he said.
“We’ve confirmed we are not interfering in the Syrian case, or in any other Arab country.”
Shia Iran had long supported the Sunni Hamas against their shared enemy Israel.
But exiled Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal left his base in Damascus after the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011, criticizing President Bashar al-Assad, a key ally of Iran, and moving to the Sunni Gulf state of Qatar.
Subsequent reports that Hamas was supporting the Sunni-led rebels in Syria against Iran-backed Shiite supporters of Assad, such as the Lebanese movement Hezbollah, led to a decrease in crucial Iranian funding of Hamas, according to media reports.
But Zahar denied there had been a complete severing of ties.
“Our relations with Iran were not cut, and we don’t wish to cut ties with any Arab countries either, even those that are fighting against us,” he said in reference to Egypt, which has taken a hard line against the militant group since the military overthrow of president Mohamed Morsi in July.
Hamas is the Palestinian affiliate of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, which has been the target of a massive crackdown in Egypt in recent months that has seen hundreds of Morsi supporters killed and more than 2,000 arrested.