Superficially, the conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip should have little to do with Iran. Yet all sides implicate Iran.
Israel accuses Iran of shipping weapons to the Islamist organization, arming it as it has armed the Lebanese Hezbollah. Iran does not deny, calls for further arming of the resistance groups and reaffirms its intentions to even expand to Gaza and the West Bank. Moreover, Iran recently has renewed its traditional rhetoric (from the days of Ahmadinejad) calling for the destruction of the State of Israel. The most recent Tweet in the name of the Supreme Leader Khamenei heads “Why should and how can Israel be Eliminated“.
Most of what appeared in the Iranian press on the conflict in recent weeks reflected a concern for Gazan civilians, taking a firm stand on Israel’s atrocities, but several reports on recent speeches called for arming the terror groups and annihilating Israel.
And what of the Western press? For the most part, media outlets exposed its complicity in the current escalation and its censure of any Iranian who dared voice sympathy for the casualties on both sides – such as Oscar-winning A Separation director Asghar Farhadi and human rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh.
The Christian Science Monitor leaked a still-classified UN report determining that Hamas’s use of long-range rockets implicated Iran in arms exports to Gaza. With the West beginning to look to Iran as a possible facilitator of stability in the volatile Middle East, The Wall Street Journal went a step further by stating that “the UN report is a fresh reminder, if one were needed, that the Islamic Republic abets the very terrorism and instability it is now being enlisted to stop.”
Still it is suggested, like by Iranian scholar-diplomat Seyed Hossein Mousavian on Al-Monitor, that Iran (along with Turkey) was one of the “two pillars of future stability” and the answer to terrorism (mostly of the Sunni kind, of course).
Also on Al-Monitor, columnist Ali Hashemi likened Iran’s aid to Hamas to its nuclear strategy – “knowledge can’t be bombed.” Apparently, both cannot be stopped. Not the export of terror knowledge nor the nuclear knowledge. Not even by the West, which is still courting Tehran – in its nonproliferation and counterterrorism efforts.