Hamas leader accepts invitation to meet with Iranian leadership
Invitation appears to be part of Iranian effort to rehabilitate diplomatic status in region
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has accepted an invitation from Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian to visit Tehran and meet with Iranian leadership, according to a statement released by Hamas.
The invitation came after Amirabdollahian visited Lebanon, where he was filmed touring Lebanon’s border with Israel.
The two leaders were speaking by phone when Haniyeh reportedly said he welcomed the reconciliation between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
He reportedly said that the rapprochement between the two nations was mutually beneficial and highlighted the Israeli government’s “dissatisfaction” with the agreement.
According to a Hamas statement, Haniyeh “expressed his thanks and appreciation for the call, confirming his acceptance of the invitation and his intention to go to Tehran soon.”
Amirabdollahian reportedly “praised the steadfastness of the Palestinian people and expressed pride in the Palestinian resistance that hurts and disturbs” the Jewish state.
Haniyeh thanked the Iranian foreign minister for his invitation and praised the recent “Jerusalem Day” rallies against the Israeli “occupation.”
Iran’s invitation to the Hamas terror organization is seen by many analysts as a sign that relations between Iran and Hamas have improved, following a period of tensions over Hamas’ lack of support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his nation’s civil war.
While Iran officially resumed funding Hamas in 2017, relations have remained strained between the two. Following the recent rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia, Tehran has expanded its diplomatic outreach and appears set on strengthening strategic relationships.
Haniyeh’s last visit to Iran was in 2020 at the funeral of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Commander Qassem Soleimani, who was killed by a U.S. drone strike.