Hamas and Iran rebuild ties three years after falling out over Syria

The Guardian reports: A rapprochement between Hamas and Tehran is under way almost three years after a breach over the Palestinian party’s refusal to back the Syrian government in the civil war, and amid its current political isolation following the demise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

The rebuilding of the relationship is likely to dismay Israel and the US, which had welcomed the weakened ties between Gaza’s rulers and their powerful political, financial and military sponsors.

“Relations between us are now almost back to how they were before [the crisis over Syria]. We believe we will soon be back at that point,” said Taher al-Nounou, an aide to Gaza’s prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh. Contacts between high-ranking officials from both sides had resumed, he said.

Khaled Meshaal, the head of Hamas’s political bureau, based in Qatar, has met Iranian representatives in Ankara and Doha in recent months, and may visit Tehran in the coming months.

According to Nounou, a delegation of Hamas officials based outside Gaza visited Tehran two months ago. Hamas leaders inside Gaza have been unable to leave the blockaded coastal strip since the military coup in Egypt last July.

Another senior Hamas official, Bassem Naim, confirmed the renewed contacts between his organisation and Tehran. “Ties had never been conclusively severed, but recently there have been a number of meetings that brought new blood back into our relationship with Iran,” he said. [Continue reading…]

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