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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Hamas leader in Tehran - mending fences?

From Daily Star Lebanon:
A senior Hamas figure in Gaza, Mahmud Zahar, is visiting Tehran for meetings with top Iranian officials, media reported on Thursday.

Zahar's trip was taking place shortly after Gaza militants and Israel agreed a fragile truce that ended four days of deadly cross-border violence.

Zahar, who serves as Hamas's foreign minister, met his Iranian counterpart, Ali Akbar Salehi, who voiced his country's support for the Palestinians.

Salehi condemned Israeli air strikes on Gaza as "savage attacks by the Zionist regime against the innocent Palestinian population," the official IRNA news agency reported.

"Support for the Palestinian population is part of our principles and religious beliefs and we are certain that the Palestinian people will triumph," he said.

Zahar, in return, thanked Iran for its "limitless support."
Mahmoud Zahar, aka Mr. Sunshine, with pals

On Wednesday, Zahar met the head of Iran's supreme national security council, Saeed Jalili, and the leader of Iran's parliament, Ali Larijani, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Zahar's visit followed one by Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh last month, who shared the podium with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on February 11 to commemorate the anniversary of Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Israel and the United States consider Hamas to be an armed proxy of Iran able to strike Israel with Iranian-supplied rockets should the Islamic republic be threatened militarily.
Hamas has reportedly lost a lot of funding over Iran's displeasure at Haniyeh's support of the Syrian revolution. And recently we have seen that Hamas using exorbitant taxes to make up the shortfall, causing Gazans to complain.

Meanwhile, Islamic Jihad, which just waged a mini war against Israel, still has its Iran funding intact. And Islamic Jihad gained in popularity in Gaza for shooting rockets at civilians, while Hamas did not join in.

So it sounds like Zahar is trying to mend fences with Iran to get back on the mullah's good sides, replenish their cash supply, and re-establish their terrorist bona-fides.