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13 APR 2024

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  • Fran Jakubowicz

Money In the Bank: Examining Iran's Relationship with Hamas


What is the relationship between Iran and Hamas? What was Iran's role in the October 7 attacks on Israel?


Iran Flag with Missiles and Money

  • Following a brutal on Israeli civilians by Hamas on October 7, 2023, evidence emerged proving that Iran was a principal instigator behind this large-scale offensive.


  • As early as 2015, The Sunday Telegraph reported that Iran was funding “underground infrastructure and rocket arsenal” in the Gaza Strip.


  • Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp admitted its involvement in the October 7 massacre was in revenge for the 2020 assassination of IRGC Quds Force head Qassem Soleimani in a US drone strike.


 


When Hamas operatives infiltrated Israel's fortified southern border on October 7, Western intelligence agencies concluded that the complexity and resources utilized were a clear indication of external support and planning from Iran. 


According to US government estimates shared in the Association of Certified Financial Crime Specialists (ACFCS) November 2023 report, Iran has spent billions of dollars “to arm, train and fund groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and others as proxies and fulcrum in its foreign and regional geopolitical policy goals – and to generally destabilize the Middle East and prevent peace among its warring factions….Not only did the Hamas attack come straight out of the Hezbollah playbook, but Iran has funded, trained, and armed both Hamas and Hezbollah for decades, investing billions of dollars over time in these groups in support of their terrorist activities.”


According to an October 25, 2023 article in The Wall Street Journal, “hundreds of the Palestinian Islamist militant group’s fighters received specialized combat training in Iran….Roughly 500 militants from Hamas and an allied group, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, participated in the exercises in September, which were led by officers of the Quds Force, the foreign-operations arm of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the people said.  Senior Palestinian officials and Iranian Brig. Gen. Esmail Qaani, the head of Quds Force, also attended, they said.”



Hamas Used Weapons Made by Iran on October 7


A January 15, 2024 report from the Associated Press (AP) reveals that Hamas utilizes a diverse array of weapons from various countries. N.R. Jenzen-Jones, a military arms expert and director of the Australian-based Armament Research Services, notes that the majority of these arms originate from Russia, China, or Iran. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have also found evidence of Hamas using Iranian-produced weapons in Israel, specifically during the October 7 terror attack. Despite many weapons being manufactured locally in Gaza, the IDF recovered Iranian-made AZ111 mortar round fuses and M112 demolition charges, demonstrating Iran's involvement in arming Hamas.


Further underscoring the variety of Hamas' arsenal, the AP investigation, reported by i24 News on January 16, 2024, examined over 150 videos and photos. This investigation uncovered a wide range of weaponry, including Iranian precision rifles, Chinese and Russian AK-47 assault rifles, North Korean and Bulgarian rocket-propelled grenades, and Gaza-produced anti-tank rockets. A particularly notable finding is the Iranian-made AM-50 Sayyad sniper rifle, known for its powerful 50-caliber bullet. 



How Much Money Does Iran Give Hamas?


An October 16, 2023, Reuters article reported that the US State Department has identified Iran as a significant financial supporter of Palestinian groups, including Hamas. According to the State Department, Iran contributes up to $100 million annually to these groups. The funds are transferred through various means, including shell companies, shipping transactions, and dealing in precious metals.


Additionally, Matthew Levitt, a former U.S. counterterrorism official, is cited in the same article. Levitt estimates that the majority of Hamas' military budget, which exceeds $300 million, is sourced from multiple avenues. These include taxes imposed on businesses within territories controlled by Hamas, as well as financial support from countries including Iran and Qatar. Contributions from Arab “charities” also play a role in funding Hamas. 

In an article Levitt penned for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy in November 2023, he states, “As details emerge of potential direct links to the attack on Israel, one thing is clear: Hamas would not have been able to plan and conduct such an operation without years of Iranian training, Iranian weapons, and hundreds of millions of dollars in Iranian funding.” 



Why Is Iran Funding Hamas?


While Iran publicly denies involvement in the war on Israel, a December 27, 2023 Times of Israel article states that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps admitted that the Hamas terror group’s devastating attack on Israel was “one of the revenges” for the 2020 assassination of IRGC Quds Force head Qassem Soleimani in a US drone strike. He also said the IRGC is “well aware” of the reasons Israel killed Mousavi in Damascus, but asserted that the assassination would not hinder its campaign “against the Zionist entity.”

Ramazan Sharif, the IRGC spokesman, connected the October 7 attacks to Soleimani, referencing them as a form of retribution. This statement was made during his comments on the killing of Brig. Gen. Razi Mousavi, another top officer and associate of Soleimani slain in an airstrike in Damascus—an incident Iran attributes to Israel.  This admission by the IRGC contradicts Iran's public denial of involvement in the war against Israel.



Hamas and Iran Share a History of Aggression Towards Israel 


There is a long-established pattern and trend that Hamas and Iran have a shared stated goal to not only oppose Israel and destabilize the Middle East but to annihilate the Jewish state.


This extends from the Hamas terrorist who proudly called his parents to tell them he had killed 10 Jews to the admittance of Hamas leaders that they aimed to use the October 7 massacre to “set off a sustained conflict that ends any pretense of coexistence among Israel” to former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calling for Israel's destruction by stating, “The occupying regime of Jerusalem must be disappeared from the page of time (The Atlantic),” and well beyond.



This shared stance is not just limited to rhetoric but is manifested in violent actions that have repeatedly destabilized the region. Iran's consistent threats and actions suggest a deep-seated hatred toward Israel. Tehran's support for Hamas, both ideologically and materially, is a critical component of its broader regional strategy. A strategy that views Israel as a major obstacle to its ambitions in the Middle East.  


A Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) article details Iran's comprehensive support for Hamas, which is a key aspect of its regional strategy. The intricate and sustained nature of Iran's support for Hamas, as evidenced by financial backing, military training, and arms provision, is a pivotal element of its regional strategy. This alliance, marked by shared objectives and deep-rooted hostilities toward Israel, has significant implications for Middle Eastern stability and global peace efforts. The October 7 attack, with its sophisticated execution and Iranian fingerprints, exemplifies this collaborative aggression. 

 

Sources


Wall Street Journal, Iran Helped Plot Attack on Israel Over Several Weeks, October 8, 2023


Sunday Telegraph, Iran 'is intensifying efforts to support Hamas in Gaza’, April 4, 2015






i24News, Where Are Hamas Weapons Made, January 16, 2024



Washington Institute of Near East Policy, The Hamas-Iran Relationship, November 2023




 
Fran Jakubowicz

Fran Jakubowicz

Fran Jakubowicz is the CEO of SunHouse Marketing, an award-winning, full-service digital marketing and lead generation agency. Fran is also the CMO of Provation Life, a holistic women's health and wellness organization.  Fran is also the co-founder and volunteer CMO of Avnei Chein, a mental health crisis support organization, providing real-time advocacy.

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