Officials from the Iranian government praised Hamas for their early Saturday morning attack on Israel and voiced their support for “anti-Zionist resistance” in the region.
When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israel was “at war,” Nasser Kanani, the spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, hailed Hamas.
Kanani told the semi-official news agency ISNA that what happened today was “in line with the continuation of victories for the anti-Zionist resistance in different fields,” including as Syria, Lebanon, and occupied lands.
Government-backed Iranian backing for the Hamas campaign against Israel was reportedly promised by Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi, a prominent military adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to Tasnim News Agency.
Iranian state media, meanwhile, broadcast footage of a standing parliament screaming, “Death to Israel” and “Palestine is victorious.”
Khamenei had predicted the fall of the “usurper Zionist regime” in a speech he gave at the International Islamic Unity Conference just days before the assaults.
The Palestinian movement, Khamenei remarked, is “more alive” now than at any time in the past 70 or 80 years. The usurper [Zionist] regime is a cancer, as the revered Imam [Khomeini], may God be pleased with him, put it. God willing, the Palestinian people and regional resistance forces will wipe out this disease once and for all.
It was reported last month that senior Iranian officials met with Hamas leaders in Lebanon.
Even while several GOP contenders were quick to blame Iran for Saturday’s bloodshed, Vice President Joe Biden reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to Israel’s security.
Iran has long had close relations with the Palestinian militant group Hamas and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, both of which seek the annihilation of the Israeli state. On Saturday, Hezbollah released a statement claiming to be in “direct contact with the leadership of the Palestinian resistance.”
The leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, reportedly told the Wall Street Journal that the attack “sends a message to the Arab and Islamic world, and the international community at large, especially those seeking normalisation with this enemy that the Palestinian cause is an everlasting one, alive until victory and liberation.”
Considering that Saudi Arabia and Israel have been inching towards a U.S.-backed rapprochement—a concord that would be profoundly difficult for Iran—this comment illustrates the delicate state of affairs in the area.
Although Iran has been quick to celebrate Hamas assaults, both Saudi Arabia and Qatar have issued statements expressing alarm about the rising bloodshed.
The Israeli government’s role in the stripping away of Palestinian rights was mentioned in the statements released by both governments on Saturday, with the Qatari foreign ministry going so far as to blame Israel for the escalation in violence over the weekend.
With grave concern for the situation in the Gaza Strip, the State of Qatar has issued a statement urging all parties to calm down and show moderation. Israel’s repeated invasions into Al-Aqsa Mosque under the protection of Israeli police are the latest in a long line of breaches of Palestinian rights, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs blames Israel alone for the continued escalation.
For its part, Qatar urged the international community to “compel Israel to stop its flagrant violations of international law, respect the resolutions of international legitimacy, and the historical rights of the Palestinian people,” and to “prevent these events from being used as a pretext to ignite a new asymmetric war against Palestinian civilians in Gaza.”
On Saturday, the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement echoing the UAE’s, saying that the kingdom is “closely following” the unfolding violence and urging international intervention and the implementation of a “two-state solution to achieve security and peace in the region.”
In a statement, the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia called for “immediate halt to the escalation between the two sides,” as well as “the protection of civilians and restraint.” The King’s statement reads in part, “The Kingdom recalls its repeated warnings of the dangers of the explosion of the situation as a result of the continued occupation, the deprivation of the Palestinian people of their legitimate rights, and the repetition of systematic provocations against its sanctities.”