Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has met many times with delegations from Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad,1 but his meeting on July 22, 2019, with a Hamas delegation was unusual because his previous meetings were limited to organizational leaders, like Hamas’ Ismail Haniyeh. The latest meeting was led by Salah al-Arouri, Hamas’ deputy political chief, and included the head of “Hamas abroad,” Maher Salah, and Moussa Abu Marzouk, Hamas’ chief of international relations. Arouri came bearing a letter from Hamas chief Haniyeh.
Al-Arouri, Haniyeh’s deputy, spent 15 years in Israeli prisons. He admitted planning the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens in June 2014 that unfolded into war in Gaza. Arouri is based in the Hizbullah neighborhood of Beirut, Lebanon.
The delegation also met with the head of Iran’s Foreign Policy Strategic Council and former foreign minister, Kamal Kharrazi, who told his visitors that the “visit proves that the Iranian Islamic Republic continues to support Palestinian resistance.”2
Regime news agencies stressed that the current meetings come at a time of regional crisis.
Khamenei’s Twitter Thread – and Threats3
The Supreme Leader used the Palestinian visit to make several declarations about the regional crisis.
“God has promised assistance and victory to those who are steadfast in His path,” Khamenei stated, according to the Iranian Press TV.4 “However, the fulfillment of this promise has requirements, the most important of which is Jihad, struggle, and tireless effort in various political, cultural, intellectual, economic, and military dimensions.”
Ayatollah Khamenei criticized the “treacherous” initiative proposed by U.S. President Donald Trump, dubbed as the “deal of the century,” saying there is a need for promotional, cultural and intellectual work to confront it.
“The goal of this dangerous [American] conspiracy,” Khamenei continued, “is to eliminate the Palestinian identity among the people and youth. There is a need to confront this main goal and not allow them to eradicate the Palestinian identity with the use of money [a reference to the Bahrain economic workshop].”
The last reference to Hassan Nasrallah is to Iran’s proxy in Lebanon, Hizbullah’s leader.
* * *