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Updated December 20th, 2023 at 22:10 IST

Iranian FM and Hamas leader meet in Doha amid regional tensions

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian met with Ismail Haniyeh, head of the political bureau of Hamas, in the Qatari capital of Doha late Tuesday.

Digital Desk
Iranian FM
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian met with Ismail Haniyeh, head of the political bureau of Hamas, in the Qatari capital of Doha late Tuesday. | Image:AP
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Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian met with Ismail Haniyeh, head of the political bureau of Hamas, in the Qatari capital of Doha late Tuesday, as reported by Iran's IRNA news agency. Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaan stated that the two sides discussed the latest developments in Gaza, with Haniyeh praising the group’s “good morale and capabilities.”

The Hamas leader expressed readiness to reach a permanent cease-fire but insisted on not doing so while facing constant attacks from Israeli forces. Over 19,600 Palestinians were reported killed in the Gaza Strip since the Oct. 7 cross-border attack by Hamas, leading to mass displacement, destruction, and shortages of necessities.

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A temporary cease-fire agreement was reached late last month, leading to the release of some Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners. Last month, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also met Haniyeh in Tehran. Iran is considered a key ally of Hamas, raising speculation about Tehran's potential involvement in assisting the Gaza-based group in planning its surprise military operation in October. Iranian officials, however, have denied any role in the operation but extended support to it.

Iran's support to Hamas terror groups

Here's how Iran supports Hamas terror groups:

  • Iranian support, primarily through its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), enabled the terrorist activities of Hamas to include the transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars in financial assistance and the furnishing of both weapons and operational training.
  • Nasser Abu Sharif served as the  Hamas representative to Iran, the group’s primary financier, and Iran’s IRGC trained Hamas fighters to build and develop missiles in Gaza.
  • Hamas’s financial activities were carried out through the Muhjat AlQuds Foundation in Gaza, a Hamas-run, Iran-funded organization whose primary mission was to provide financial support to the families of Hamas fighters and prisoners.
  • Hamas financial facilitators assisted Hamas in laundering money from outside of Gaza for eventual transfer to the Muhjat AlQuds Foundation.
  • The Muhjat Al-Quds Foundation, led by PIJ political official Jamil Yusuf Ahmad ‘Aliyan, distributed Iranian-provided funds to PIJ personnel in Gaza.
  • Nasser Abu Sharif and Jamil Yusuf Ahmad ‘Aliyan were designated under E.O. 13224 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Hamas. 
  • The Muhjat AlQuds Foundation was designated under E.O. 13224 for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, Hamas.
  • Additionally, the Department of State designated Akram al-Ajouri (Ajouri), the Damascus-based Deputy Secretary-General of PIJ and leader of the Al-Quds Brigades, PIJ’s militant wing, for being a leader of PIJ.
  • Hamas used the Lebanon-based money exchange company Nabil Chouman & Co (Chouman) to transfer money from Iran to Gaza, and the company served as a conduit for transferring funds to Hamas, transferring tens of millions of dollars to the terrorist organization.
  • Nabil Khaled Halil Chouman, Khaled Chouman, and Reda Ali Khamis, associated with Chouman, were designated under E.O. 13224 for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, Hamas.

US Sanctions and its implications

  • As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in the property of the designated persons described above that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. 
  • Any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, 50 per cent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.
  • Unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, or exempt, OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons.
  • Financial institutions and other persons that engage in certain transactions or activities with sanctioned entities and individuals may expose themselves to sanctions or be subject to an enforcement action.
  • The prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any designated person, or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.
  • The power and integrity of OFAC sanctions derive not only from OFAC’s ability to designate and add persons to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) List but also from its willingness to remove persons from the SDN List consistent with the law.
  • The ultimate goal of sanctions is not to punish but to bring about a positive behaviour change.
     
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Published December 20th, 2023 at 22:10 IST

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