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16 days in: Iran, Hezbollah break silence on Gaza

Iran and Hezbollah delay their response in support of the Palestinian resistance.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki (L) and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani shake hands during a meeting in Tehran held by the Palestine Committee of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) on August 4, 2014 on the situation in Gaza. Rouhani denounced the inaction of the Security Council of the United Nations response to the "slaughter" of Palestinians by Israel. AFP PHOTO/ATTA KENARE        (Photo credit should read ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images)

For the first 16 days of the war, both the “resistance bloc” and Iran’s rhetoric toward what was happening in the Gaza Strip was surprising. Until July 19, Tehran’s reaction was colder than usual; no significant solidarity was witnessed in the streets, nor did officials voice their usual support to the Palestinian groups fighting Israel. The same applies to Lebanon’s Hezbollah that used to be much more involved in similar situations previously. It was only Ali Larijani, Iran’s parliament speaker, who on July 17 called both Hamas’ leader Khaled Meshaal and Ramadan Abdullah Shalah, Islamic Jihad’s secretary-general, to voice his country’s stance to support the Palestinian resistance in the war.

On July 20, a drastic change occurred. Meshaal and Shalah received another phone call, this time from Hezbollah's Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah who indicated that the “resistance bloc” was about to start its solidarity campaign with Gaza. According to a press release by the party, Nasrallah expressed support to both groups and to the Palestinian people, as recounted by Al-Monitor’s Nasser Chararah. Since then, the support increased and reached its peak with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's speech on Eid al-Fitr and a few days later the letter by Quds Force leader Qassem Suleimani that was aired by the Beirut-based Al-Mayadeen TV.

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