Agence France-Presse Iranian support for Hamas is explicitly illustrated by a huge banner, deployed in the center of Tehran, which shows the black checkerboard and The white of the Palestinian keffiyeh gradually covers the white and blue Israeli flag.
Iran places itself at the forefront of supporting the massive offensive launched by Hamas against Israel, its sworn enemy, while rejecting accusations of its direct responsibility for the outbreak of the war.
< p>This support is explicitly illustrated by two huge banners, deployed in the center of Tehran: “The great liberation has begun”, proclaims one of them, while the other shows the black and white checkerboard of the Palestinian keffiyeh gradually covering little the white and blue Israeli flag.
These banners were installed just hours after the outbreak of the “Al-Aqsa Flood” attack on Saturday that took the Israelis completely by surprise.
Iran was then one of the first countries to welcome this “proud operation” launched by Hamas, a movement that Tehran has openly defended for many years, even if their relations have had ups and downs.
“Iran supports the self-defense of the Palestinian nation,” President Ebrahim Raïssi said on Sunday. “The Zionist regime and its supporters […] must be held responsible in this matter.”
Like all Iranian leaders, Mr. Raïssi never mentions the name of Israel, the existence of which Tehran does not recognize. This “usurping regime” is “a cancer” which “will surely be eradicated by the Palestinian people,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country’s highest authority, said last week.
Iran has maintained good relations with Israel until the Islamic revolution of 1979, from which the Palestinian cause established itself as one of the pillars of Tehran's diplomacy.
Despite their publicly displayed support , the authorities denied on Monday having played an active role in the Hamas offensive.
“Iran does not intervene in the decision-making of other nations, including Palestine,” said diplomatic spokesperson Nasser Kanani. By ruling that “the accusations linked to Iran's role” were “politically motivated.”
Shortly before, the Iran's permanent mission to the UN refuted information from the Wall Street Journalindicating that officers of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the ideological army of the Islamic Republic, had prepared with Hamas the air, land and sea incursions into Israeli territory.
During his visit in Lebanon, at the beginning of September, the head of Iranian diplomacy, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, met with leaders of Lebanese Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, reaffirming that Iran “strongly supported the resistance”.
The United States has so far remained cautious, saying that it was “too early” to say whether Iran was “directly involved”, while judging that there was “no doubt” about the fact that Hamas was “financed, equipped and armed” among others by Tehran.
For Iranian political scientist Ahmad Zeidabadi, the authorities “expect Hamas itself to change the situation.” “It does not appear that the Iranians are ready to enter into such a war,” but “they might be interested, at some point, in having their aligned groups like Hezbollah reduce pressure on Gaza by opening a new front.” north.
For this expert on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the stakes are high for Iran, whose strategy would be strengthened if Hamas succeeded in bringing Israel to its knees. “But if Hamas weakens and all its political, economic and military infrastructures are destroyed, it will be a debacle for the Islamic Republic,” he believes.
Also at stake is the future of the process of rapprochement initiated two years ago between Israel and Arab countries, which is strongly opposed by Iran, Palestinian groups and Hezbollah.
The Secretary of State American, Anthony Blinken, estimated on Sunday that “part of their motivation” to go to war was probably “to disrupt efforts to bring Saudi Arabia and Israel closer together.”
A Ayatollah Khamenei's close advisor, Ali Akbar Velayati, recently warned countries “that think they can solve their problems by normalizing relations with the Zionists” that they “will seriously endanger the security of the region.”
For expert Ahmad Zeidabadi, this question is one of the challenges of the war: “If Hamas is completely defeated, the path to normalization will open because there is no other [ practical solution] for Arab countries facing Israel. If he wins, any deal will be in jeopardy for a while.” “In this case, all pressure will focus on Iran's nuclear program.”