During a rally to mark the 33rd anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran over the weekend, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that Tehran will reveal “several major achievements in the nuclear domain” within days. Ahmadinejad released no more details, but speculation surrounding the statement include Iran announcing that its underground enrichment facility at Fordo is fully operational or that its centrifuges were upgraded.
Hamas’s Prime Minister in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniyeh, also spoke at the ceremony in Iran. He vowed that Hamas will never recognize Israel and will continue the “resistance” until all Palestinian land is liberated. As if his statement needed clarification, Haniyeh later explained that Hamas has “come to understand that we can obtain our goals only through fighting and armed resistance, and no compromise should be made with the enemy.” The “gun is our only response to the Zionist regime,” he added.
Ahmadinejad (L) and Haniyeh (R) raise hands in front of thousands in Tehran.
Haniyeh’s speech sparked interest in whether or not there is a split in the Hamas movement, as the leadership outside of Gaza — specifically Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal — has of late discussed a potential Hamas move away from violence, and the Iranian axis. Haniyeh obviously does not share that sentiment.
Indeed, Ahmadinejad and Haniyeh’s statements at the rally were a true display of defiance. Defiance against Khaled Mashaal and Mahmoud Abbas’s most recent unity agreement; against Western pressure on Iran to end its nuclear program; and, of course, against Israel. As alliances shift in the region due to the year-long turmoil, Haniyeh and Ahmadinejad are, thus far, maintaining theirs. It should be a signal to the West of the dangers of a Palestinian unity government that includes a Hamas that has not accepted Israel’s right to exist.