Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani is one of Iran’s most senior military figures. While he usually meets foreign guests in civilian garb, his admiral’s uniform often adorns him. Shamkhani served as Iran’s defense minister for eight years and commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Navy as well as the Artesh (conventional) Navy.
Arouri met with Khamenei early in the delegation visit to receive the Supreme Leader’s blessings. The next day they met with Iran’s National Security Council head Shamkhani, presumably to discuss more practical issues dealing with military strategy, training, and supplies for Hamas.
For its part, Hamas media reported:
The delegation briefed Shamkhani on the challenges facing the Palestinian cause in light of the “deal of the century” and Israeli plans to judaize (sic) Jerusalem, take over Palestinian holy sites, expand illegal West Bank settlements, and tightening the 13-year siege on Gaza, as well as targeting the Palestinian right of return.2
According to the Iranian press, the leader of the Hamas delegation, Saleh Arouri, told Shamkhani:
We, as representatives of Resistance Front and Hamas Movement, voice our solidarity with the Islamic Republic of Iran and emphasize that any hostile act against Iran is an act against Palestine and Resistance and we see ourselves in the frontline of supporting Iran.3
Shamkhani shared a bellicose message with the Hamas:
The Islamic Republic of Iran will stand by and assist the Palestinians until their final victory over the child-killer Zionist regime.
Our support for the Palestinian cause is based on the principles of the Islamic Revolution, and Iran will continue this assistance until the final and complete victory of the resistance movement over the Zionist regime.
The power of the Zionist regime and its allies is declining, and they are in a weak position. The fake schemes which are in contrast to the solid will of the Palestinian nation will certainly fail.4
After the destruction of the tunnels between Egypt and Gaza, Hamas has increasingly relied on Iranian supplies via the Mediterranean Sea and Gaza’s 40-kilometer shoreline.5 There is little doubt that Admiral Ali Shamkhani’s naval experience plays a role in maintaining that supply line.
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