February 18, 2009
Iran-Hamas Relationship in 2008
HAMAS rockets, many supplied or produced by Iran, dominated headlines and news photographs worldwide during the 2008-2009 Gaza conflict. The clash began in late December 2008 and ended in mid-January 2009 after Israel, responding to rocket fire against southern Israeli towns, conducted “Operation Cast Lead,” a campaign of air strikes and a ground offensive against HAMAS targets in the Gaza Strip.
U.S. and Israeli officials claim that many HAMAS rockets, especially those with longer ranges, originated in Iran, although Iran may have modified or distributed weapons manufactured in other countries.  HAMAS leader Khaled Meshaal even visited Tehran on February 2, 2009 and thanked Iran for its help during the Gaza conflict, calling the country a “partner in victory.”
On January 19 and 20 2009, the USS San Antonio searched a ship in the Red Sea that had originated from Iran; a week later, on January 28, Egypt delayed the same ship before it attempted to cross the Suez Canal.  Cyprus finally seized and searched the ship after it had entered the Mediterranean and declared on February 10 that the ship had violated a UN ban on Iranian arms exports. Cypriot authorities found “1,980 wooden cases of powder for 130mm guns and 1,320 cases of powder and powder pellets for 125mm guns” and “60 barrels full of 39mm shells, 810 cases of propellant for 125mm guns and eight cases of 120mm mortar components,” causing the UN Security Council committee responsible for monitoring sanctions on Iran to declare on March 10 that Iran had violated UN sanctions.
Further evidence of the supply line between Iran and HAMAS emerged in late March 2009, when news broke that Israel had struck an Iranian arms convoy in Sudan in January 2009. Reportedly, “Dozens” of Israeli F-15s and F-16s reportedly bombed a group of as many as twenty-three trucks, which were carrying 120 tons of weapons and explosives from Iran destined for HAMAS, near Port Sudan in the African country.
Although the Gaza conflict exposed Iran’s ties with HAMAS more clearly than ever before, the relationship began as early as 1992 and expanded significantly throughout 2008, a year when Iranian leaders made public statements in support of HAMAS while providing unprecedented financial and military support. During 2008, HAMAS had a chance to test its combat capabilities in intermittent skirmishes with Israel while rebuilding its arms stockpile and fighting prowess with Iranian training. Immediately before the crisis in December 2008, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) leaders met in Damascus to increase significantly the flow of arms to Gaza, giving HAMAS the stockpile it needed to fire daily volleys of dozens of rockets against Israel. 
During Gaza’s isolation in 2008, Iranian leaders, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Speaker of the Parliament Ali Larijani, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, offered continued rhetorical support to HAMAS, stating that Iran would not abandon the group. IRGC commander Major General Ibrahim Ja’afari even hinted in July 2008 that Iran would use Hezbollah or HAMAS to respond if Iran came under attack.  To facilitate this relationship, Iranians such as Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani, Qods Force deputy commander Abd Reza Shahla’I, and Iranian Minister of Intelligence and Security Gholam Hossein Mohseni-Ejehei  worked with, among others, HAMAS leader Khaled Meshaal, HAMAS Political Bureau Deputy Musa Abu Marzuq, and the HAMAS representative in Iran, Abu Usama Abd al-Mu’ti.
The rhetoric and meetings translated directly into increased material support. In late May 2008, some reports indicated that Iran increased its financial support for HAMAS to $150 million for the second half of the year. Iran transferred these funds to HAMAS through the Iranian Bank Melli’s Damascus branch. The US had targeted this bank, Iran’s largest, in October 2007 sanctions for its role in supporting Iran’s nuclear program.
Weapons accompanied the cash: the group received shipments of explosively formed penetrators (EFPs), Iranian-supplied rockets, and 120mm mortars in 2008. The EFPs HAMAS received, known as the “Shawaz” and similar to those found by U.S. forces in Iraq, could penetrate up to 200 mm of steel. With Iranian assistance, HAMAS even reportedly modified the EFP, creating a “Shawaz 4” model to better penetrate Israeli tanks and armored personnel carriers. New collapsible rockets, consisting of four 50cm sections, found their way into Gaza more easily than earlier models; some of these rockets may have been produced in China and distributed by Iran, while other reports claim that a “Martyr Bakiri” complex in Tehran produced the weapons.
War materiel reportedly flowed to HAMAS most heavily during three periods: after Gaza militants breached the border wall separating Egypt from Gaza at Rafah in January 2008 (which allowed as many as half of the 1.5 million residents of Gaza to cross the border into Egypt), after an early March conflict between Israel and HAMAS, and after the June 2008 six-month ceasefire agreement between Israel and HAMAS. Another report claimed Iran’s defense ministry decided to increase its arms deliveries in November 2008.
Smugglers brought the arms into Gaza primarily through one of three routes: by breaking arms down so they could be moved piece-by-piece through tunnels under the Egypt-Gaza border, by using humanitarian aid ships as cover to stow weapons, or, while anchored in Egyptian waters closed to the Israeli Navy, by dropping them in waterproof containers that frogmen could tow into Gazan waters, where Palestinian fishermen would meet the shipments. On land, arms dealers or Sinai Bedouinswould bring arms to Gaza’s border,  completing a land route that could extend as far south as Somalia.
Iran provided significant training to HAMAS during 2008. Several reports indicate that as many as 150 HAMAS operatives trained in Iran in March 2008; the reported return of 200 operatives from Iran-based training in January 2008 after the breach in the Rafah wall and the delay of seventy more attempting to cross the Egypt-Gaza border in June 2008 make plausible this claim and other reports that “hundreds” of HAMAS operatives trained in Iran during 2008. 
These operatives trained for periods ranging from thirty days to six months.  During this training, Iranian instructors reportedly drilled HAMAS members in creating explosives out of everyday objects; operating rockets, anti-tank weapons, light weapons, and mines; and navigating terrain to conduct operations and evade Israeli forces– all while indoctrinating trainees with anti-Israeli or anti-American propaganda. 
Iran used “train the trainer” techniques and emailed training materials to broaden the reach of training efforts and reduce the number of HAMAS operatives exposed to potential arrest during travel to and from training. Hamas operatives primarily traveled from Gaza to Egypt, Egypt to Damascus, and Damascus to Iran, a route that could expose them to Egyptian or Israeli interdiction. Like the techniques employed by Iranian-backed Special Groups in Iraq, HAMAS operatives trained in Iran would return to Gaza to train more HAMAS operatives unable to travel abroad; hundreds of such trainers supposedly resided in Gaza at the start of the recent Israel-HAMAS conflict.
But Iran did not leave everything up to the graduates of its military training academies: in July 2008, seven to ten members of the Iranian Qods Force allegedly entered Gaza to train HAMAS in the use of weapons recently smuggled into the Strip and to inspect areas bordering Israel, supposedly employing forged Iraqi passports to transit the Rafah crossing. 
Beyond training and armaments, Iran has helped HAMAS to tighten its grip on freedom of expression in the Gaza Strip. In May 2008, Iran provided censorship software to HAMAS to help the movement limit Palestinian access to the Internet, which HAMAS began to control further after it struck a deal with the Palestinian telecommunications company PalTel in May.
Without Iranian financing, weapons, and training and other support, HAMAS could not have inflicted as many Israeli casualties as it did during the conflict with Israel. Already, the group’s relationship with Iran has helped it rebuild from the conflict with Israel: since the conflict’s end, HAMAS has smuggled “22 tons of explosives and ‘tens’ of rockets” into Gaza.
Please see below for a detailed summary of sources examining data in the following areas:
Iranian financial aid to HAMAS reportedly flows through Damascus, directed by Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, who has resided in Syria since HAMAS’ exile from Jordan in 1999.
Details surrounding the injunction against Bank Melli confirm this: “Teheran transfers most of the financial aid to HAMAS and Palestinian Islamic Jihad through Bank Melli branches in Damascus and Amman. The US Treasury Department has also established that Bank Melli provides banking services to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards [Corps] and its Quds Force branch which is used for overseas operations.”
Iran promised in late May to increase the amount of annual aid for the second half of 2008 to $150 million, according to reports; by comparison, Iran reportedly provided $250 million to HAMAS in December 2006 for 2007 costs.
In August 2008, Iran distributed through the al Ansar Charitable Society $1.3 million in aid to 350 families who had a member die as a “martyr.” 
Another conflicting report claimed that the al-Shahid Foundation – an alternate name for the Bonyad-e Shahid, an Iranian organization sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department – provided $2.3 million to 3,500 families; families of married “martyrs” received $1,000 while unmarried “martyr” families received $500.
TRANSPORTATION OF MATERIEL
Timing and Volume
Reports say materiel arrived in large amounts after a breach occurred in the wall between Gaza and Egypt in January 2008: “(28 March) - According to senior Palestinian Authority sources, HAMAS militants who recently returned to the Gaza Strip after training in Iran have detailed plans for upgrading the capabilities of rockets being developed in the Gaza Strip. A senior Palestinian source told Ha'aretz that members of HAMAS' military wing smuggled blueprints and other detailed technical instructions into Gaza that will enable the group to develop rockets capable of striking at longer distances.” 
Iran replenished the rocket stockpile after the early March 2008 HAMAS-Israel conflict: “Iran is reportedly investing significant efforts in trying to increase the striking distance of the rockets manufactured by Palestinians in Gaza. Though stockpiles of Katyusha rockets in Gaza, according to the Palestinian Authority source, have dwindled since fighting there three weeks ago, Iran has reportedly smuggled more Katyushas, made by its own military industries, into Gaza by sea. The source also said the technical information for improving the rockets was smuggled into Gaza following the breach of the wall that separates the Gaza Strip from Sinai and Egypt in January.”
Materiel started flowing heavily through the tunnels after the ceasefire agreement of June 2008; the Quds Force and Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security facilitated the transfers.
According to one report, the Iranian defense ministry decided to increase weapons deliveries to Gaza in November 2008. 
Most missiles are broken down and smuggled through tunnels at the Rafah crossing.
After Operation Cast Lead, Egypt and Israel are working together to reduce smuggling: “The new mechanism Israel has set up with the Egyptians consists of three layers - intelligence cooperation, obstacles in Sinai and the deployment of new tunnel-detection technology along the Egypt-Gaza border.”
This cooperation is critical, as large amounts of explosives, machine guns, and other arms have already arrived in Sinai since the conclusion of Operation Cast Lead.
A report surfaced in mid-April 2008 stating that Iran delivered some weapons by dropping them in buoyed containers off the coast of the Gaza Strip: “‘They throw the weapons overboard in waterproof, sealed tubes that then float into the Gaza waters and are picked up by fishermen,’ said one official. ‘Sometimes Navy boats intercept them and sometimes they get through.’”
The weapons transfer may also occur through waterproof containers transported by Iranian frogmen who move weapons from Iranian ships to Palestinian fishing boats underwater; this method would run the risk that the frogmen may come under Israeli fire but this tactic has apparently succeeded in the past.
The Iranian ships anchor in Egyptian waters just off Gaza, out of reach of the Israeli Navy. 
Iran also transfers materiel under the cover of humanitarian aid deliveries.
Sometimes the Iranians attempt to deliver materiel by sea:
On 15 January 2009 Israel turned away an Iranian ship loaded with 2,000 tons of reported humanitarian aid while it was attempting to enter Gaza. The ship, the Shaded, was turned away 20 miles off the Gaza coast, the perimeter previously established by the Israeli naval blockade, and sent to Egypt. 
On 27 January 2009, Egypt prohibited an Iranian ship from transiting the Suez Canal; the ship was believed to be carrying weapons for HAMAS.
The US Navy attempted to interdict such shipments in late January 2009. The navy has tasked Combined Task Force 151 with searching for Iranian shipments. The task force’s USS San Antonio boarded an Iranian ship on January 19-20, 2009 and found artillery shells and other weapons: “Last week the USS San Antonio, an amphibious transport dockship that serves as the command and control centre for the taskforce, boarded the former Russian cargo vessel Monchegorsk, which is registered in Limassol, Cyprus and flying a Cypriot flag.”
France also dispatched a frigate with a helicopter to the Mediterranean in late January. 
Iranian ships sometimes drop off materiel at Port Said in Egypt.
The route by ground may extend as far south as Somalia and Sudan, from which it is smuggled north through Egypt to Gaza.
News emerged in March 2009 confirming this route: near Port Sudan in Sudan in mid-January, Israeli forces struck a convoy of as many as 23 trucks, according to anonymous Israeli intelligence sources, or as few as 15 trucks, according to an unnamed HAMAS official, that carried arms from Iran destined for HAMAS smugglers in Egypt.
In February 2008, the rocket type changed from previous Grad rockets to include a new Grad rocket type consisting of four 50 cm sections. The separate sections would make the rocket easier to disassemble and smuggle across a border.
Supposedly, the longer type rockets fired during Operation Cast Lead may have been manufactured in China and distributed to HAMAS by Iran.
These rockets may also have been produced at the “Martyr Bakiri Complex in Tehran”, according to promises in late May 2008 made by Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi, a former Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force commander, to continue supplying advanced missiles to HAMAS.
A report emerged in early February 2008 claiming Iran had dedicated a special production line to ‘collapsible’ Grad rockets that had a range of 16km.
During Operation Cast Lead, as of January 14, 94 Chinese Grad rockets with 40 km ranges, 71 122mm rockets with 20 km ranges, 4 175 mm rockets, and 48 90 and 155mm rockets were fired against Israel.
Iran supplied 120 mm mortar ammunition to HAMAS during 2008.
HAMAS fired one shell on February 24, 2008. Forensic examination showed it to have been modeled after an Israeli shell provided to Iran before the Islamic Revolution. “The shell had an auxiliary motor which increased its range from six to ten kilometers.”
HAMAS fired another shell on February 29, 2008; it was a standard 120mm explosive manufactured in Iran in 2006.
Dozens of mortars fired against Israeli villages during Operation Cast Lead. 
Possessed by HAMAS operatives, allegedly supplied by Iran.
Known as the “Shawaz” or “Flame,” it can supposedly penetrate up to 200mm of steel (second source corroborates existence.)
HAMAS supposedly developed a current version, the Shawaz 4, with Iranian assistance.
One Israeli soldier died and three others were wounded when an Israeli jeep encountered an explosively formed penetrator in March 2008.
Iran reportedly helped provide HAMAS with equipment to censor Internet cafes to limit use by Fatah members; HAMAS supposedly signed an agreement to censor the Internet with PalTel in May 2008: “Iranian Interference In Regional Affairs Iran Helps HAMAS To Censor Internet (17 June) --Iran has supplied equipment and technology to enable the HAMAS regime to censor the Internet in the Gaza Strip. Palestinian sources said the HAMAS regime has received from Iran training and equipment required to track and censor Internet traffic. The sources said HAMAS was beginning to use the equipment to track Fatah and other dissidents in using the Internet to communicate with their supporters abroad. HAMAS has acknowledged that it has begun to track the Internet. The regime said it was installing filters in Internet cafes to block pornography sites. The sources said the real reason of the HAMAS campaign was to prevent anonymous Internet cafes to be used as a communications centers by the opposition Fatah movement. They said Fatah was receiving orders and finances from the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank as well as Saudi Arabia. The HAMAS campaign came in wake of the firebombing of Internet cafes by Palestinians said to be linked to Al Qaida. The sources said the attacks were part of a struggle by Palestinian clans, particularly that of Dughmoush, to obtain protection money from businesses throughout Gaza City. In May 2008, HAMAS, after a year of negotiations, signed an accord with the Palestinian telecommunications company PalTel, to filter websites on the Internet. A memorandum said the agreement was meant ‘to protect the sons of the Palestinian people and reinforce morale and Palestinian national concepts.’ Palestinians said the effort was meant to block Internet in and around universities in the Gaza Strip, with the highest use of the Internet. They said the filters have slowed Internet to a crawl.”
Number of Trainees
“Hundreds” of HAMAS operatives trained in Iran
Two hundred supposedly returned through the breach in the Egypt-Gaza wall that opened in January 2008.
Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin claimed HAMAS began to transfer “tens” of individuals in early March to Iran, promising hundreds more.
A HAMAS commander claimed in early March 2008 that 150 HAMAS fighters had trained in Iran and an additional 150 were in training in Iran during early March 2008.
Seventy HAMAS operatives were supposedly delayed in mid-July when attempting to enter the Rafah crossing.
As of March 9, 2008, sixty-two HAMAS operatives were allegedly training in Syria, in addition to another 650 HAMAS operatives who had trained in Syria up to that point; all trained under trainers who had received training in Iran.
At least 100 Iran-trained operatives were reported to be ready to fight Israel at the start of Operation Cast Lead.
- One to six months; another source claims 45 days to six months.
“Train the Trainer” and other training multiplication techniques
Israeli Defense Forces Southern Commander Yo’av Gallant: “‘If ten HAMAS men go to Iran for training, return, and every one of them trains another ten, multiply that by large multiples and you will get the picture. They constantly go abroad for training, not just in Iran, but also with Hizballah and in other places.’”
At the beginning of Operation Cast Lead, hundreds of trainers were in Gaza.
Email used to send training information to HAMAS members.
HAMAS trainees learned tactics, weapon operation, and – importantly – the ability to make explosives out of everyday objects.
“‘They come home with more abilities that we need,’ said the HAMAS commander, ‘such as high-tech capabilities, knowledge about land mines and rockets, sniping, and fighting tactics like the ones used by Hezbollah, when they were able to come out of tunnels from behind the Israelis and attack them successfully.’”
The IDF detained an individual who claimed to have trained in Iran on April 15: they apprehended Alla’ Jihad Awad Abu Mudeif, of a village near Khan Yunis, but he was a member of Fatah’s Abu Rish faction. He claimed he was sent to Iran from Gaza in May 2007 for month-long training that included:
“i) Physical training and navigation.
ii) Operating various types of weapons: light arms, machine guns, hand grenades and anti-tank weapons.
iii) Assembling and operating explosive devices.
iv) Indoctrination, especially anti-Israeli and anti-American incitement.
v) Spy craft training (evading followers, etc.)”
The operatives travel from Gaza to Egypt, from Egypt to Syria, and from Syria to Iran.
In late October, 7-10 Quds Force members supposedly entered the Gaza strip through Rafah’s tunnels using fake Iraqi passports: “Website Reports Iranian Military Experts Entered Gaza To Train HAMAS Elements (28 Oct) -- A website calling itself Kufiyyah Press posted the following report, which was datelined Cairo: ‘According to informed security sources, a group of Iranian military personnel had entered the Gaza Strip through one of the tunnels operated by the outlawed HAMAS movement in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. The group consisted of seven to 10 persons who are experts in the Al-Quds Corps [Qods Force] of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard [Corps]. The sources pointed out that the mission of the group was to train HAMAS elements on the use of several kinds of modern weapons that had been smuggled recently into the Gaza Strip through the tunnels. Hoseyn Hamedani, deputy commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard [Corps], said on Sunday that Iran was arming the so-called ‘Armies of Freedom’ in the Middle East, meaning HAMAS and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon. The sources pointed out that the members of the group entered Egypt using probably fake Iraqi passports. They then entered the Gaza Strip through one of the tunnels spread out across the Egypt-Gaza border. The sources said there was previous intelligence information that Iranian military personnel were in Gaza. Their telephone and wireless calls were intercepted before the calm agreement between HAMAS and Israel. At that time, a number of them were seen inspecting areas adjacent to the border with Israel. They were escorted by elements from the Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of HAMAS.”
Interaction with Hezbollah?
HAMAS and Hezbollah militants reportedly trained together.
A report in early March 2008 claimed Hezbollah trained HAMAS, but the HAMAS members may have simply adopted Hezbollah tactics from afar or while in Iran.
HAMAS-IRAN PERSON-TO-PERSON CONNECTIONS
Quds Force Commander Qassim Soleimani.
Quds Force Deputy Commander Abd Reza Shahla’i; the US Treasury froze his assets on September 16, 2008.
Iranian Minister of Intelligence and Security Gholam Hossein Mohseni-Ejehei.
Abu Usama Abd al-Mu’ti is the HAMAS representative in Iran
Issued statements on Alan Johnston kidnapping while in Iran.
Issued statement on February 6, 2008 on HAMAS’ website, calling the February 4 suicide attack on the southern Israeli town of Dimona “a message” that the group's military wing had “renewed the suicide attacks.”  He also said: “This operation shows that the Palestinian resistance groups won't succumb to the pressure from the Zionists Americans and their allies in Ramallah he stressed.”
HAMAS Political Bureau Deputy Musa Abu Marzuq
Marzuq and HAMAS leader Khaled Meshaal met the Iranian Supreme Leader’s Advisor for International Affairs, Ali Akbar Velayati, on the sidelines of a Doha conference on October 13, 2008 and urged joint resistance against Israel.
Iran supposedly urged Marzuq and the rest of HAMAS to seize control of the Palestinian presidency in a phone call on 9/10/2008 in which Syrian Major General Muhammad Nasif, HAMAS leader Khaled Meshaal, HAMAS Political Bureau Deputy Musa Abu-Marzuq, Lebanese Quds Force commander Muhammad Rida Zahidi, and Iranian Ambassador to Syria Ahmad al-Musawi participated.
December 2008 meeting: Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps leaders supposedly visited Damascus, resulting in new Grad missile deliveries to HAMAS, including many of the rockets used during Operation Cast Lead against Israel.
Iranian VIP Statements
Speaker of the Iranian Parliament Ali Larijani
December 11, 2008: “It is an honor for us to defend the resistance and efforts of the Lebanese and Palestinian nations because they defend their ideals. You (West) assume that by calling these people terrorists, you can harm them but you should know that you disgrace yourselves. We defend [Lebanese Hezbollah Leader] Seyyed Hasan Nasrallah and the Lebanese resistance, and will always support the efforts of Palestine and Lebanon.”
September 12, 2008 backed Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and Gaza in a phone call. 
June 5, 2008: offered support to HAMAS Leader Khaled Meshaal in a phone call.
Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
December 7, 2008 message to Hajj pilgrims: “Look at Palestine and especially Gaza. The cruel and ruthless acts of the enemy, which are unprecedented in the history of human atrocities, are indicative of his weakness in overcoming the firm resolve of men, women and children who, with their empty hands, are standing against the Occupant Regime and its supporter, the superpower called America; they have spurned its demand which is to reject the HAMAS government. May God the Almighty's blessings be showered upon this resolute and great nation. The people of Gaza and the HAMAS government have given meaning to the following everlasting verses of the Holy Qur'an which says…”
October 29, 2008 message on anniversary of embassy seizure: “He also criticized the US kind of democracy by talking about the ‘US pressure’ on the ‘popular’ government of HAMAS in Palestine as well as the Iraqi government.”
October 1, 2008 Eid al-Fitr sermon singling out Haniyeh: “During his Eid ul-Fitr sermons Wednesday, the Leader called out to HAMAS' prime minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh, saying Iran will not abandon the Palestinians. He said that Iran will stand beside the HAMAS government in Gaza and that Israel is weakening and on the path to eventual destruction. Ayatollah Khamenei called Haniyeh, a ‘mujahed’, or holy warrior, saying ‘the Iranian nation will never let you be alone.’”
May 27, 2008 to delegation led by HAMAS leader Khaled Meshaal: “It is evident today that the Zionist regime is at its lowest ebb and is unable to resist the patient Palestinian people.”
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:
Ahmadinejad called HAMAS Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh on September 13, 2008 and expressed support for him and HAMAS.
May 27, 2008 in meeting with HAMAS leader Khaled Meshaal in Tehran: “The Iranian nation and government will continue to support the Palestinian nation.”
Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Commander Ibrahim Ja’afari
July 2, 2008 – hinted that Iran would encourage HAMAS and Hezbollah to respond if Iran were attacked: “(Question) What do you mean by the capabilities outside Iran? Is there any probability of (Iran) taking action against the enemies through Hezbollah or HAMAS?(Jafari) [sic] As we have witnessed in Iraq, it was not just the Iraqis who were resisting in the face of aggression and the occupation of their country by the Americans. On the contrary, groups of revolutionary Muslim youth from various countries found their way into Iraq and carried out selfless obligatory operations against the Americans and confronted the occupiers. In view of the Islamic Republic's position and influence among the nations and countries of the Islamic world, the possibility of such support of the Islamic Republic of Iran will be much stronger. That is, the revolutionary Muslims of the Islamic world (be it Shiites or Sunnis) consider any attack by America and Israel on Islamic Iran as an attack on the entire Islamic world; and without a doubt, the Muslim revolutionaries would feel that they have divine obligation to respond and confront such an attack; and this is not something which the Islamic Republic of Iran could prevent. This is an issue of faith, which the enemies have observed and tested during our own Holy Defense (the war against Iraq during Saddam's rule) and in the course of the (US-British) attack on Iraq.”
Former Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Commander Sayyid Yahya Rahim Safavi
- September 26, 2008, praised HAMAS: “Rahim-Safavi described the victory of the popular movement of HAMAS in Palestine as an unprecedented event in 2006, and said: HAMAS won the majority of the seats in the Palestinian parliamentary election with 74 seats.”
HAMAS VIP Statements
HAMAS Political Bureau Deputy Abu Marzuq
December 3, 2008: “We have explained our stance to Egypt namely that there is no interference by Iran in the Palestinian affairs. HAMAS is the most independent movement in its decision making.”
October 25 – October 27, 2008: Marzuq initially seemed to support Iran in the dispute between Tehran and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over Persian Gulf Islands; he later seemed to contradict his earlier statement and offered support for the UAE: “…on Saturday (25 October) affirmed that his movement was keen on maintaining 'positive relations' with the United Arab Emirates. He said in a press statement that HAMAS supports the UAE in face of any threat to its 'security and stability.' Asked on the issue of the three UAE islands occupied by Iran, he said that his movement supports the Arab position in this regard. He advocated 'dialogue and peaceful means' to solve this issue. He underlined that HAMAS delegates, during meetings with Iranian officials, focus on the unity of the Arab and Muslim Umma (Nation), which entails an Iranian assurance to its neighbors that it only bears good intentions toward them. Abu Marzouk hoped that the issue would be solved soon so that it would not serve as a stumbling bloc[k] in face of 'healthy and positive' Arab-Iranian relations based on the respect of each other and non-interference in internal affairs.He appreciated the UAE support to the Palestine cause and people, pointing to the visit by a HAMAS delegation headed by Khaled Mishaal, the Movement's political bureau chief, to the UAE and the meetings with Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, the UAE president, and other officials. He described the meetings as 'positive and fruitful.' For its part, Gaza-based, independent Sama News in Arabic on 27 October cites Pan-Arab newspapers as saying that the UAE was ‘greatly furious’ with a statement Abu-Marzuq made to the Qatari Al-Rayah newspaper, in which he ‘doubted the Iranian occupation of the three disputed islands.’ The report further notes that ‘political circles in the UAE demanded a clarification from Abu-Marzuq, affirming the UAE right over these islands. The London-based Al-Quds al-Arabi reported that Khalid Mish'al, head of the HAMAS Political Bureau, called the office of Shaykh Khalifah Bin Zayd Al Nuhayyan, the UAE president, and tried to clarify and apologize for Abu-Marzuq's remarks. An UAE official told the paper that Abu-Marzuq's remarks caused great unease, because it did not expect HAMAS to take such a position at a time when it fights the Israeli occupation, but refused to recognize the Iranian occupation of the islands.”
HAMAS Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh
- December 2, 2008: congratulated Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on “International Jerusalem Day”: “Sources in the office of the deposed Palestinian Prime Minister, Isma'il Haniyah, have affirmed to Al-Sharq al-Awsat that he has sent a message to the supreme leader of the Islamic revolution, Ayatollah Ali Khamene'i, and Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinezhad, marking the International Jerusalem Day, praying to God to safeguard them, and voicing hope to pray together in Jerusalem. In his message Haniyah, the prominent leader in HAMAS, voiced his hope that Khameni'i and Ahmadinezhad will perform ‘the salvation prayer’ in holy Jerusalem. In his message that was read yesterday at the University of Tehran, which was packed with worshippers participating in the International Jerusalem Day, Haniyah praised the personality of ‘Imam Khomeyni, may God have mercy on his soul, who launched the Islamic revolution in Iran, and the legacy that he left to the Iranian people and the entire Islamic nation by proclaiming the last day in the fasting month of Ramadan as the International Jerusalem Day.’ Haniyah emphasized ‘that the great man elevated the status of jihad for the liberation of Jerusalem and Palestine.’ He noted Imam Khomeyni's interest in the Palestinian cause, stressing that ‘this great man's designation of the International Jerusalem Day demonstrates the extent of his interest in Jerusalem.’”
Chairman of HAMAS Political Bureau Khaled Meshaal
May 28, 2008: “‘We will never recognize Israel or cease to fight for our land. Our battle against Israel is one of resistance to occupation,’ Press TV quoted the Palestinian leader as saying during an address to 'The Decline of the Zionist Regime' conference at Tehran University.”
May 24, 2008: met with the following Iranian officials: Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili, Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki, Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Commander Ibrahim Ja’afari, Quds Force Commander Qassem Suelimani, and members of Iran’s Defense Industries Organization, including Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi, a former Quds Force commander .
May 26, 2008: met former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
HAMAS was rumored to be considering moving its headquarters to Tehran after news broke of talks between Syria and Israel in late may.
Fatah Spokesman Fahmi al-Za’arir
November 14, 2008: “He also held the HAMAS Movement responsible for foiling the Cairo dialogue conference, noting that HAMAS was linked to alien agendas, like Iran, which it regards as one of the opposition forces.”
Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri
November 11, 2008: may show that Zawahiri views HAMAS as a close ally of al-Qaeda: “(Al-Zawahiri) Then this is what they have come to. Actually, let me tell you something else: many of those who call themselves nationalists, leftists and what not work directly or indirectly with the Americans through their governments to combat the Islamic movements.(Interviewer) So what is it you are asking of them? (Al-Zawahiri) I am not asking them to join HAMAS nor Al-Qa'ida. I am asking them to come back to their Lord, their religion and their Nation. Enough of this decline and fall.”
March 4, 2009: “It is clear that Iran intends to interfere with the internal affairs of all of these people and try to continue their efforts to fund terrorism, whether it's Hezbollah or Hamas or other proxies.”
Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
April 29, 2008: “But perhaps of deepest concern, the leaders of HAMAS are increasingly serving as the proxy warriors of an Iranian regime that is destabilizing the region, seeking a nuclear capability and proclaiming its desire to destroy Israel.”
HAMAS INTERACTION WITH AL-QAEDA?
A number – exactly how many is unclear due to conflicting accounts – entered Israel after the border between Gaza and Egypt opened to fight Israel in early February 2008; some had just returned from fighting in Iraq. A PA official claimed that these were al-Qaeda operatives. 
Abd-al-Rahman al-Rashid, a writer for the Egyptian paper al-Sharq al-Awsat, doubted the presence of al-Qaeda in Gaza in a September 4, 2008 editorial, saying that al-Qaeda would have entered Israel “10 years ago” if it had wanted to have influence there and that now it was consumed primarily with Iraq.
According to Israeli sources, al-Qaeda operatives killed HAMAS members in a late July 2008 attack in Gaza City: “One of the senior officials who were killed in the attack was Ammar Misbah, a senior member of the Martyr Izz-al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, HAMAS's military arm. Besides him, Iyad al-Hayyah, the nephew of HAMAS official Khalil al-Hayyah, and Nidal al-Mubayyidh, another senior member of the Brigades”
HAMAS supposedly handed an al-Qaeda leader over to Egypt after he had entered Gaza in order to organize an al-Qaeda wing with disgruntled members of the Qassam Brigades.