Hamas leader visits Iran after outreach to Gulf

AP News
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Posted: Feb 10, 2012 10:25 AM
Hamas leader visits Iran after outreach to Gulf

An Iranian semiofficial news agency reports that the Hamas prime minister of Gaza has arrived in Tehran. The visit may be an attempt by the Palestinian militant movement to avoid snubbing Iran even as it cultivates ties with the wealthy Gulf.

The Friday report by Fars says Ismail Haniyeh will meet Iranian leaders, despite what the agency claimed were efforts by Gulf countries like Qatar and Kuwait to stop the visit.

Some in Hamas want to be part of the broader Islamist political rise triggered by last year's Arab Spring uprisings. For this, Hamas needs new friends among Gulf states at odds with Iran.

But others in the movement may wish to maintain the relationship with Tehran, which helped Hamas when it had few friends in the Arab world.