CATF Reports Dec. 16, 2016, 11:08am

Hamas representative in Iran Khaled al-Qaddumi stressed the importance of the group’s close relationship with Tehran earlier this week during an interview with the Iranian Students’ News Agency. During the interview, al-Qaddumi said, “Palestine is the common bond between Iran and Hamas” in a relationship that is “getting better every day.” Al-Qaddumi, who met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Zarif just over a year ago, reiterated the consolidation of ties with Iran by emphasizing the two sides shared enemy and claiming that disagreements amount to less than 5% of the Iranian-Hamas relationship.

While al-Qaddumi claimed that Israel is Iran’s major enemy, Tehran’s foreign policy priorities over the last several years have been centered on securing President Assad’s position in Damascus. In all likelihood, Iranian efforts in Syria comprise the “5%” of disagreements between Hamas and Iran referred to by al-Qaddumi. And while disparaging views on the Syrian war, which caused Hamas leaders to abandon their base in Damascus, likely account for more than a 5% difference in views, Hamas and Iran have been able to maintain their strategic relationship.

Al-Qaddumi’s comments appear to be largely symbolic, yet they may be intended to have discernable effects. Hamas was reminded of the value of maintaining healthy relationships with sympathetic, albeit slightly distracted, powers when Qatar transferred $30 million to Gaza’s civilian employees earlier this year. Although Hamas may not be among the supporters of the Iranian-backed offensive in Aleppo and other regions of Syria, the terrorist organization seems set to maintain its close ties with the Islamic Republic in the hope of returning to rank high among the beneficiaries of Tehran’s spending.

From the Iranian Students’ News Agency:

 Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during a 2012 visit to Tehran
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during a 2012 visit to Tehran | AFP

“In an exclusive interview with Iranian Students’ News Agency, Hamas representative said Palestine is the common bond between Iran and Hamas, adding it is the most important issue between the two sides.

He went on to say that there is no disagreement over Palestine and the issues related to that between Iran and Hamas, noting even if there is it is not more than %5.”

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