Palestinian Resistance Leaders Visit Iran, Meet With Top Leadership

Orinoco Tribune, March 31, 2024 —

The leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad visited Tehran this past Wednesday, March 26th, to hold various meetings with the authorities of the Islamic Republic.

Ismael Haniyeh, the political leader of Hamas, in his meeting with the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, stated that the latest resolution of the United Nations Security Council, which demanded an unconditional ceasefire in Gaza, demonstrated “the unprecedented isolation of Israel since the beginning of the occupation.” Additionally, Haniyeh affirmed that “Israel has failed to achieve all its strategic objectives, besides losing international support.”

In this regard, it is worth remembering that in recent weeks, sources within the Zionist intelligence have acknowledged what was evident: achieving a decisive victory over Hamas is an unattainable objective. The colonial authorities themselves have confirmed that around 80% of Hamas’s tunnel system remains intact despite months of airstrikes and ground operations.

Haniyeh also held a meeting with the Iranian President, Ebrahim Raisi. During this meeting, Raisi pointed out that “the issue of Palestine has transcended the Islamic realm to become a global humanitarian cause. People worldwide feel a deep repulsion towards the Zionist regime, labeled as criminal, and its main sponsor, the United States, while showing solidarity and support for the oppressed people of Gaza.”

The Iranian president also emphasized how Hamas’s operation on October 7 “was an unprecedented event whose consequences for the Zionist regime are impossible to ignore.” Furthermore, he added: “What we witnessed that day was the legitimacy of the Palestinian cause and the steadfast stance of its allies, including the Islamic Republic. This also demonstrates that the Zionist regime, a fictitious and criminal entity, is the source of all regional instability.”

In another part of his public appearance after the meeting with Ismail Haniyeh, Raisi emphasized Iran’s efforts to foster solidarity among Islamic countries in support of the oppressed people of Gaza. At the same time, the Iranian president criticized the inaction and passivity of certain political leaders in the region in the face of the crimes of the Zionist regime.

In this regard, it should be noted that the latest surveys conducted among Palestinians confirm this analysis. A poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in December 2023 indicates growing support for Hamas in all occupied Palestinian territories, alongside a dramatic decline in support for the Palestinian Authority (which is supported by several countries in the region). The data also reveals widespread endorsement of Hamas’ actions, including the operation on October 7th.

Raisi concluded his remarks by reminding that victory “will be on the Palestinian side, and defeat will be the fate of the Zionist regime and its supporters.” He added: “The Islamic Republic of Iran remains steadfast in defending the rights of the Palestinian people and will always stand by the Palestinian people.”

On his part, Hamas’s political leader expressed gratitude to the government and people of Iran, as well as appreciation for the efforts of the Islamic Republic of Iran in supporting the oppressed Palestinian people. Haniyeh emphasized that this support for the Palestinian cause constitutes one of the fundamental pillars on which the Islamic Republic of Iran is built.

The importance of Palestine in Iranian Islamic circles predates the foundation of the Islamic Republic in 1979. Fifteen years before the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini had already placed Palestine at the center of his political concerns. From his earliest days as a public and political figure, Imam Khomeini succeeded in institutionalizing the discourse on Palestine within the Iranian Islamic movement, criticizing the Pahlavi regime, which was allied with Israel and the United States. This alliance was one of the fundamental reasons why Imam Khomeini strongly opposed the Shah and his economic policy, arguing that it had turned Iran into a market flooded with Israeli imports, while Israel had become the main importer of Iranian oil.

For this reason, it can be argued that the main motivation behind the Islamic Revolution was a reaction against Western hegemony, within which Israel played a significant role in Islamic discourses. Therefore, it can be asserted that the Islamic Revolution was not merely a struggle for liberation against a tyrannical regime, but primarily characterized as an anti-imperialist and epistemic revolution. In other words, the aim was not simply to change the regime, but to eliminate all traces of Western political influence, as it was understood that this paradigm was responsible for the oppression suffered by Iran and other Muslim countries.

Returning to the visit of the leaders of the Palestinian Resistance to Iran, they were received by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei. During the meeting, Ayatollah Khamenei emphasized the centrality of Palestine in the political vision of the Islamic Republic, stating that “Palestine is the foremost issue in the world, and the Islamic Republic will not hesitate to support the Palestinian cause.”

The centrality of Palestine for Iran is beneficial in the long run for two main reasons:

1-The history of Israeli and American intervention in Iran before the Revolution was one of the main causes of the fall of the Pahlavi regime and, therefore, was seen as a constant threat to the country’s national security. Since the Islamic Revolution, on the other hand, Israel has failed to impose its imperialist policy in Iran, as it is “constrained” by the presence of the Palestinian Resistance and Hezbollah.

2- The lack of relations with Israel is viewed by Iranian authorities as a way to protect their national security and, particularly, the principles upon which it is based: independence, sovereignty, and dignity. These principles should not be understood as abstract values, but as strategic needs arising from Iran’s own historical experience, as seen in the previous point.

Ayatollah Khamenei himself, in statements following the Gaza conflict in 2005, confirmed this strategic vision by stating that unwavering support for the Palestinian cause would benefit Iran’s national security as well as that of other countries in the region. In the same remarks, he also declared that Muslim governments that do not support Palestine face a real possibility of internal destabilization due to the lofty status of this cause among their populations.

Ayatollah Khamenei also emphasized the need to develop an effective communication strategy in this regard: “The propaganda and media efforts of the Palestinian resistance so far have been highly effective and superior to those of the Zionist enemy. We must continue to intensify these efforts.”

Finally, it is worth highlighting the participation of the Secretary General of the Islamic Jihad, Ziyad Al-Nakhalah, in a large pro-Palestinian gathering held at Azadi Stadium in the Iranian capital. During this gathering, Al-Nakhalah stated, “Palestine will defeat Israel with the help of Iran.”

During this gathering, the Deputy Secretary-General of the Islamic Jihad, Muhammad al-Hindi, pointed out that although the Security Council resolution reflects Israel’s international isolation, it is not expected to have a practical impact. He also noted that Netanyahu’s government’s priority is to continue the war rather than bring back the prisoners. Al-Hindi concluded by expressing gratitude for the support operations for Palestine in Lebanon by Hezbollah and in the Red Sea by the Yemeni group Ansarallah.

In conclusion, the visit of the leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad to Iran is understood within the previously mentioned centrality of Palestine in Iranian political articulation. This centrality not only justifies unwavering support for Hamas and Islamic Jihad but also shapes the entire foreign policy of the Islamic Republic. Therefore, Palestine represents the most important focal point around which Iran develops its entire regional policy.

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