The leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad – terror organizations that operate in the Gaza Strip – both attended the inauguration of Iran’s new hard-line president in Tehran on Thursday.
Ismail Haniyeh, head of the political bureau of Hamas, and Ziyad al-Nakhaleh, head of Islamic Jihad movement, were both invited to the swearing-in ceremonies.
In his first speech as Iran’s eighth president, Ebrahim Raisi confirmed that Iran would continue its role in supporting Syria and the Gaza Strip, where Hamas and Islamic Jihad represent the regime as military proxy groups and carry out attacks on the State of Israel.
Raisi has been linked to human rights abuses and sanctioned by the U.S. He is a protégé of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Raisi said he will continue talks to revive the country’s 2015 nuclear deal from which former President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. unilaterally in 2018.
“We will definitely pursue the lifting of tyrannical sanctions, but we will definitely not allow people’s financial ability and the economy to be impacted by it,” he said. “We will not link the sanctions to outsiders’ wishes.”
In May, Haniyeh thanked Iran for providing weapons to Hamas in Gaza in its 11-day war with Israel. The war ended in a ceasefire brokered by Egypt but not before the Gaza-based groups launched 4,300 rockets at Israel.
In Israel, 13 people were killed, but more than 200 were killed in Gaza including dozens of children. The infrastructure of the Gaza Strip was decimated as the Israeli Air Force responded to the rocket attacks.
Iran provides millions of dollars to terrorist movements such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah – based in southern Lebanon near the Israeli border – in an attempt to support terrorist movements that confront Israel.
Israel’s defense minister said that the army is ready to take offensive military action against Iran if need be.
“Israel is ready to attack Iran, yes,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz told Ynet in an interview on Thursday. “Iran seeks to pose a multi-front challenge to Israel, as such is building up its forces in Lebanon and Gaza, deploying militias in Syria and Iraq and maintaining its supporters in Yemen. Iran is a global and regional problem and an Israeli challenge.”