Government-backed Tasnim News Agency reported that a top military adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi, pledged Iranian support to the Hamas operation against Israel.
Meanwhile, Iranian state television showed clips of parliament members standing and chanting “Death to Israel” and “Palestine is victorious.”
Just days before the attacks, Khamenei delivered a speech at the International Islamic Unity Conference, claiming that the “usurper Zionist regime” would soon come to an end.
“Today, the Palestinian movement is more alive than it has ever been during these 70 or 80 years,” Khamenei said. “The honorable Imam [Khomeini], may God be pleased with him, described, the usurper [Zionist] regime as a cancer. This cancer will definitely be eradicated, God willing, at the hands of the Palestinian people and the resistance forces throughout the region.”
High-level Iranian officials were also reported to have met with members of Hamas leadership in Lebanon last month.
The strong Iranian support for the attacks comes as President Joe Biden reaffirmed the U.S.’ commitment to Israel’s security and many GOP candidates jumped to place blame for Saturday’s violence on the Islamic Republic.
Iran has historically maintained strong ties with both Palestinian Hamas and Hezbollah, a Lebanese militant group that holds similar goals including the destruction of the Israeli state. Hezbollah issued a statement Saturday saying that the organization is in “direct contact with the leadership of the Palestinian resistance.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said the attack “sends a message to the Arab and Islamic world, and the international community as a whole, especially those seeking normalization with this enemy, that the Palestinian cause is an everlasting one, alive until victory and liberation.”
The statement reflects the precarious state of affairs in the region, as Saudi Arabia and Israel have been inching toward a U.S.-backed rapprochement — a state of harmony that would be deeply troublesome for Iran.
While Iran was quick to celebrate the Hamas attacks, both the Saudi and Qatari governments released messages of concern regarding the escalating violence.
In respective statements on Saturday, both governments contextualized the latest flare in conflict by referencing the Israeli government’s role in stripping rights away from Palestinian people — with the Qatari foreign ministry going so far as to blame Israel for the escalation in violence over the weekend.
“The State of Qatar expresses its deep concern over the developments in Gaza Strip and calls on all parties to de-escalate, and exercise maximum restraint. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs holds Israel solely responsible for the ongoing escalation due to its ongoing violations of the rights of the Palestinian people, the latest of which was the repeated incursions into Al-Aqsa Mosque under the protection of the Israeli police.”
The Qatari statement also called on the international community to “compel Israel to stop its flagrant violations of international law, respect the resolutions of international legitimacy and the historical rights of the Palestinian people, and to prevent these events from being used as a pretext to ignite a new asymmetric war against Palestinian civilians in Gaza.”
The Foreign Ministry of Saudi Arabia released a similar statement on Saturday stating that the kingdom is “closely following” the developing violence and calling for the international community to intervene and introduce a “two-state solution to achieve security and peace in the region.”
“The Kingdom calls for an immediate halt to the escalation between the two sides, the protection of civilians, and restraint,” the statement read. “The Kingdom recalls its repeated warnings of the dangers of the explosion of the situation as a result of the continued occupation, the deprivation of the Palestinian people of their legitimate rights, and the repetition of systematic provocations against its sanctities.”
Nahal Toosi contributed to this report.