(Communicated by the IDF Strategic Division)
In the aftermath of Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense, Iran reasserted its role as a key state sponsor of terrorism. Through various public statements, Hamas and Iranian officials gave Iran credit for providing Hamas with its current arsenal as well as technology for the manufacture of weapons. Furthermore, both stated their ambition to continue Hamas’s weaponization.
Less than a week after the end of Operation Pillar of Defense (Nov 21, 2012), a shipment of weapons, which included rockets, was discovered at the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas. The shipment was presumably destined for Gaza via Sudan. Iran is the main weapon provider for terrorist organizations and radical groups such as Hamas and Hizbullah. The Iranian regime uses sea, land and air routes to increase its regional influence as part of its strategy to transfer weapons to those terrorist organizations.
Prominent statements regarding Iranian and Hamas cooperation in building Hamas’s arsenal and Hamas’s campaign of firing rockets against Israel:
- Iranian Parliament speaker, Ali Larijani, stated: "We are proud to defend the people of Palestine and Hamas… and that our assistance to them has been both financial and military." (21 Nov 2012)
- General Mohammad Ali Jafari, chief of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, claimed that Tehran had provided the technology for the Fajr 5 missiles used to target Tel Aviv. (21 Nov 2012)
- Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal thanked Iran for their support during the conflict, saying Iran "had a role in arming" his Islamist movement. (24 Nov 2012)
- Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Shalah said that "Iran has given us all the support. The weapons used by the resistance, the whole world know that they come mostly from Iran or purchased with Iranian funding. These weapons are delivered to the Gaza Strip via Egypt, and that such shipments will continue in the future." (20 Nov 2012)
- Deputy chairman of the PIJ Ziad al-Nakhala stated that, "the weapons used by the resistance to fight, even Hamas weapons, are Iranian from the first bullet to the last rocket, even what is produced locally is in fact Iranian." (18 Nov 2012)
- PIJ spokesman Dawud Shihab said in an interview, "It is no secret that we say that the military assistance provided to the Palestinian resistance – from A to Z, from bullet to rocket – is assistance from the Islamic republic, Iranian assistance. This is something we should say, and it is very appropriate for us to say so clearly and without being ashamed." (19 Nov 2012)