Under the auspices of the Egyptian leadership, Hamas & Fatah finally signed a long sought after reconciliation agreement, but instead of solidifying its new relationship with Egypt, Hamas leaders travelled to Iran to enhance mutual cooperation, to Cairo’s pique.
By ADAM RASGON
A high-level Hamas delegation led by Hamas Deputy Politburo chief Salih al-Arouri arrived in Tehran on Friday to meet with Iranian officials, Hamas’s official website reported.
The delegation’s arrival in the Iranian capital came just a week after Hamas and Fatah signed an agreement to advance national reconciliation efforts under the auspices of Egypt. Iran and Egypt have cold ties.
The Hamas delegation plans to meet with Iranian officials, with which it will discuss “the latest developments in the Palestinian arena, bilateral relations and developments in conflict with the occupation” the Hamas website report said.
A senior Hamas delegation also visited Iran in August to attend the swearing-in ceremony for Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s second term and meet with senior Iranian officials.
The Hamas officials visiting Tehran include Aroui, Hamas Politburo member Ezzat al-Rishq, senior Lebanon-based Hamas official Osama Hamdan, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri and other high-ranking Hamas officials.
The visit is slated to last “several days,” according to the Hamas website report.
Hamas and Iran have historically maintained close relations. But after Hamas refused to support the Iranian-backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in 2011 when a civil war broke out in Syria, ties between Hamas and Iran were believed to have soured.
However, Hamas Chief in Gaza Yahya Sinwar, told a group of journalists in late August that his movement’s ties with Iran “were and still are good,” and noted that Iran had become the largest sponsor of Hamas’s armed wing, the Ezzeldin Qassam Brigades.
Egypt did not immediately react to the Hamas delegation’s visit to Tehran.
Some experts have noted that one of the reasons Egypt has sponsored Palestinian reconciliation efforts is to encourage Hamas to develop closer ties with it rather than its regional foes such as Iran and Qatar.
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