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Gaza factions worry about fallout from Iranian protests

Hamas and Islamic Jihad are worried that the protests might impact Iran’s military and financial support.
Iranian women wave Palestinian and national flags during a march to condemn the ongoing Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, Palestine Square, Tehran, Iran, May 19, 2021.

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — The armed factions in the Gaza Strip are closely following up on the ongoing protests in Iran, fearing they would affect the funding and military support that the Iranian regime provides them with.

The ongoing popular protests were sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of Iran’s morality police on Sept. 16 for allegedly wearing her hijab improperly.

Amini's death angered the Iranian public that rose up against the ruling regime’s policies.

Iran is the only country in the world that openly provides military and financial support for the armed factions in the Gaza Strip, despite occasional setbacks caused by political events in the Arab region. 

The escalating protests are expected to affect the ruling regime in Iran, which has so far been unable to stop the popular rallies. The protests also coincide with the stalled talks on Iran’s nuclear program in Vienna, which have also negatively affected the Iranian economy.

Meanwhile, the Iranian government continues to tighten its repressive grip on its citizens, especially women, which will not abate the popular tension, and will subsequently affect the country’s foreign policies.

Palestinian politicians and observers believe that what is happening in Iran is a Western plot targeting the support of the resistance in the Gaza Strip, by weakening the social fabric in Iran, changing the ruling regime and causing an internal war to weaken the state’s internal components, mainly the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. 

A well-informed military source from Islamic Jihad told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, “The Islamic Jihad leadership is following with great concern the disturbing and escalating protests inside Iran, and whether the regime will be affected by them. We are concerned the protests will also affect the future of Iran’s support to the movement as Islamic Jihad mainly depends on Iran's financial and military support.”

Al-Monitor contacted leading Hamas figures, but they refused to speak or comment on the protests taking place in Iran.

Ismat Mansour, a Ramallah-based expert on Israeli affairs, told Al-Monitor that the protests in Iran have increased the concerns of Iran's allies in the region, especially since the rallies are supported by parties that are hostile to Iran and its regional proxies, and are designed to weaken the regime.

He said, “The current situation in Iran does not threaten the continuity of the support [to Gaza’s factions]. But if the protests expand to other cities later on, they would certainly weaken the ruling regime, which will negatively affect its financial capabilities and subsequently affect its foreign relations.”

Mansour noted that the armed factions in the Gaza Strip are closely watching what is happening inside Iran, specifically Islamic Jihad, which is the main Iranian arm inside Palestine and receives its full military and financial support from Tehran, unlike Hamas, which receives more military than financial support from Iran.

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