A senior Hamas official has attacked Iran over its attitude toward Hamas in a private conversation, saying that Teheran has not helped the group since 2009 and “all their claims about assistance are lies.”
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Moussa Abu Marzouk, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, made his remarks to an associate, who recorded them; the comments were reported in the A-Shark Al-Awsat newspaper, which is published in London. The entire recording was also leaked and posted on YouTube.
In the recording, Marzouk says Iran hasn’t given any economic or logistical assistance for years. “They are crafty and play with words; they are very cautious in their diplomatic conduct,” he said. “Since 2009 we’ve gotten nothing from them, and even what our members got was not from them, but from others. All their claims about assistance are lies.”
According to the recording, Marzouk claims that Teheran would make any support it offered conditional on Hamas intervening to help Iran improve its relations with other countries, like Sudan. “They are liars and play with lies,” he said.
The Hamas leader hinted that he doesn’t believe Iranian reports over the years that aid vessels sent to Gaza disappeared en route or were stopped at sea. “Every ship that got lost they claimed was on their way to us. Even when a ship was lost in Nigeria, in Iran they claimed it was bound for Gaza. It’s interesting that all the ships destined for us get seized, and not a single ship reached us,” he told his colleague.
Since the start of the Syrian civil war, when Hamas expressed support for the rebels, diplomatic ties between Iran and Hamas have been nearly severed. A Palestinian source who had spoken to Marzouk in recent months and who heard the recording told Haaretz that he’s heard similar things from him. The source said that Hamas is disappointed by the Iranian attitude, but explained that it stems from Teheran’s assumption that in the end Hamas would prefer to remain under the Sunni Muslim umbrella, in the bosom of Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Despite what Marzouk said, Iz al-Din al-Qassam, Hamas’ military wing, reported on two different occasions last year that it had gotten logistical help from the Iranians. The brigades’ spokesman made such an announcement at the event marking the anniversary of Operation Protective Edge, and at an event marking the anniversary of Hamas’ founding.
Palestinian sources said then that the aid was delivered through Hezbollah, in an effort to pull Hamas back into the Syrian-Iranian axis, but that the Hamas political leaders rejected this effort because of its ramifications for Hamas’ ties with Arab countries, particularly the Persian Gulf states.