December 17, 2014 | Quote
Hamas Delegation in Tehran Seeks to Deepen Ties with Iran, Syria
Hamas is seeking to mend ties with Syria and Iran according to policy brief written Thursday by Ali Alfoneh, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Alfoneh cited an interview Hamas spokesman, Osama Hamdan, gave to an Iranian news agency.
Speaking to Iran’s ISNA news agency, Hamas international affairs spokesman Osama Hamdan expressed hope that the group’s leader Khaled Mashal would soon visit Tehran to discuss “hostile acts of the Zionist regime towards al-Aqsa Mosque.” The rest of the interview, however, discloses the real purpose of Hamdan’s presence in Iran: normalizing Hamas’s relations with Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria.
“Our relations with the Syrians are not severed,” Hamdan said, crediting Syria for being a “pillar of the ‘resistance’” against Israel. The spokesman dismissed the regime’s brutal crackdown against its own people (most of them from Hamas’s own Sunni Muslim population) as “an internal issue,” and said the Hamas leadership had left its home base in Damascus in January 2012 because of “practical reasons” rather than any dispute with the regime. He took pains to emphasize the guiding principle in Hamas’ foreign relations: “Our policy is based on [a state’s] position towards the Palestine issue.”
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