May 5, 2023 | Flash Brief

Raisi Affirms Iranian Coordination with Palestinian Terrorist Groups

May 5, 2023 | Flash Brief

Raisi Affirms Iranian Coordination with Palestinian Terrorist Groups

Latest Developments

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi met with leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad on May 4 during his trip to Syria, where he predicted the imminent “collapse of the Zionist regime.” Damascus-based Palestinian official Khaled Abdul-Majid said the leaders briefed Raisi on developments in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. “The Palestinian leaders thanked Iran for its support to the resistance and the Palestinian cause,” said Abdul-Majid, who was present during the talks.

“Today more than ever,” Raisi reportedly said, “the unity and cohesion of the resistance forces, the region and the Islamic world is necessary to accelerate the defeat of the Zionist regime and the liberation of the holy Quds and the sovereignty of the Palestinians over their destiny.”

Expert Analysis

“In case there was any doubt who’s calling the shots in this multi-front campaign against Israel, Raisi is pulling back the curtain on Iran’s orchestrating role. Simply describing Hamas or Islamic Jihad as ‘Palestinian’ organizations without prefacing that with ‘Iran-sponsored’ or ‘Iran-directed’ is outdated and misleading.” Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

“Raisi said in Damascus that Tehran has its sights set on the West Bank and Jerusalem with the ultimate goal of destroying the Jewish state. The meeting between the Iranian premier and Palestinian terrorist leaders in the Syrian capital is bad news for Israel and terrible news for the Palestinian Authority. It is clear that the mullahs of Iran are willing to fight this war to the last Palestinian.” Enia Krivine, Senior Director of FDD’s Israel Program and National Security Network

Iran Is a Longtime Supporter of Hamas, Islamic Jihad

Iran provides prodigious funding to its proxies Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Last year, then-Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Iran gives Islamic Jihad tens of millions of dollars per year. In April 2023, Islamic Jihad leader Ziyad Nakhalah said Iran gives Hamas $150 million per year. “If Israel demolishes a house in the West Bank today — it is Iran that pays [to rebuild it],” Nakhalah said. “Also, the weapons that the Palestinians use for fighting come from Iran — the Iranians either pay for these weapons or provide them. This has been going on for 30 years.” Nakhalah’s estimate is considerably higher than the State Department’s, which maintains that Tehran provides up to $100 million annually in combined support to Palestinian terrorist organizations.

In April 2023, Hossein Salami, commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), said that “invisible hands” — an apparent reference to the clerical regime in Tehran — “have armed the West Bank, and you [now] see modern automatic rifles and automatic weapons in the hands of the Palestinians.” In May 2021, after the 11-day war between Israel and Hamas, IRGC Quds Force commander Esmail Qaani boasted that Tehran provided the terrorist group with weapons. “In the first three days of the Palestinians’ battle against the Zionist regime, we fired many missiles into the occupied territories, like in the [2008] 22-day war,” he said, effectively conflating Iran and Hamas as the perpetrators of the missile fire.

Iran-Backed West Bank Chaos,” by Joe Truzman

The Quiet War between Israel and Iran,” by Jonathan Schanzer

Hamas as Tehran’s Agent,” by Jonathan Schanzer


Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran-backed Terrorism Israel Jihadism Palestinian Politics