TEHRAN, Iran — When Hamas’ politcal bureau member Izzat al-Rishq, heading a delegation from the movement, met with Iran’s supreme leader’s foreign policy adviser, Ali Akbar Velayati, it was the first time the two men had met since 1991, when the former was still a junior member of Hamas and the latter was Iran’s foreign minister. The 1991 meeting gave Iran a strong ally inside the Palestinian territories and provided Hamas with steady and generous support to take its fight with Israel to another level. This was while the region was in the midst of a peace process that saw both the Palestinians and Jordanians signing separate peace accords with Israel.
Memories of the first meeting came to mind not only for the personal aspect but also because Hamas’ recent visit to Iran — as in 1991 — is aimed at putting relations back on track. For this specific reason, members of the delegation were chosen carefully so that they represent all lines of thought in the movement.