Iran and the Palestinians
- After the 1979 revolution, Iran ended its alliance with Israel and started supporting the Palestinians, symbolized by turning over the Israeli embassy in Tehran to the Palestine Liberation Organization.
- As part of its campaign to export the revolution, the theocracy also aided emerging Palestinian Islamic groups, notably Islamic Jihad and Hamas. Both sent representatives to Tehran.
- Iran generally opposed the U.S.-backed Middle East peace process. During the 1997-2005 reform era, however, President Mohammad Khatami indicated that Tehran might accept any decision embraced by the Palestinian majority. But that sentiment was short-lived.
- Tehran has trained many Palestinian militants and provided a significant proportion of the weaponry used against Israel. For Shiite Iran, the Palestinian groups are among its most important Sunni allies.
- For the foreseeable future, Iran will have the means to play primary spoiler in the Middle East peace process through its proxies in Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah.
- As long as it has substantial financial and military support from Iran, Hamas can in turn refuse to work with Fatah and other parties to form a single Palestinian government in the West Bank and Gaza. The split between the two halves of the Palestinian Authority seriously complicates peace efforts since only two of the three parties to the conflict have been negotiating.
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The Islamists Are Coming
The Islamists Are Coming, edited by Robin Wright, surveys the rise of Islamist groups in the wake of the Arab Spring. Often lumped together, the more than 50 Islamist parties with millions of followers now constitute a whole new spectrum—separate from either militants or secular parties. They will shape the new order in the world’s most volatile region more than any other political bloc. Yet they have diverse goals and different constituencies. Sometimes they are even rivals.
"The Iran Primer"--Book Overview
“The Iran Primer” brings together 50 experts—Western and Iranian—in comprehensive but concise online chapters on Iran’s politics, economy, military, foreign policy, and nuclear program. It chronicles U.S.-Iran relations under six U.S. presidents. It also offers policy options, timelines, leader bios, data on nuclear sites—and context for what lies ahead. Click here to order a hardcopy. Timely articles are added weekly at the top.