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Hamas Leader on Iran: They Can Liberate 'Palestine'

Mahmoud al-Zahar -ReutersMahmoud al-Zahar -ReutersIn a recent television interview translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Zahar defended his group’s ties with Iran.
 
"We have maintained that countries that believe in our ideology and can help us - countries like Iran that believe we are capable of liberating Palestine... These are the countries with which we must develop relations," Al-Zahar said in the interview on the Lebanese Palestine Today TV, which originally aired in February.
 
 
“We did not join the PLO when it acted against Jordan in 1970, and we did not join its wars in Beirut and against Hafez Al-Assad. We did not join the PLO when it supported one Arab country that occupied another Arab country. To this day, we have never intervened in the internal Arab conflicts, even in countries where we lived, like Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, or elsewhere. We have kept our force directed at the Israeli enemy,” he said.
 
Iran was once a stronger supporter of Hamas, but the two had been at odds in recent years over the uprising against Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. As a result of Hamas’ refusal to support Assad in the uprising, an angry Iran at one point stopped supplying the terror group with weapons.
 
Nevertheless, the two sides have been getting closer in recent months as Tehran has been clandestinely supplying Hamas with arms and financial support. The speaker of the Iranian parliament, Ali Larijani, recently boasted that Iran provided Hamas with the technology it has used to rain down rockets on Israel from Gaza, and Hamas later thanked Iran for providing the group with the rockets.
 
The Al-Hayat newspaper recently revealed that Hamas leader-in-exile Khaled Mashaal met with Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander Qasem Solemeini, in Turkey, just days after the end of Operation Protective Edge in Gaza over the summer.

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