"... This summit will be held in Tehran from February 27-28, and will be attended by dignitaries and representatives from Palestinian resistance groups. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and a number of high-ranking Iranian officials will also be in attendance. The session will be held at the Foreign Ministry’s Office of Political and International Studies. The summit’s agenda focuses on supporting the Resistance [movement] against the Zionist occupier regime. For the original article in Persian, click here.
The decision to hold a summit of “Palestinian Combatant Groups” in Tehran represents a public diplomacy effort to demonstrate that the Islamic Republic’s support of the Palestinian resistance remains steadfast despite Iran’s post-election turmoil. Tehran and the Palestinian resistance groups likely will leverage the high-profile summit to issue stern anti-Israeli and US pronouncements, as well as pledge strengthened political and military cooperation.
The conservative Iranian Ghods News has reported that Hamas Political Bureau Chair Khaled Mashal and Dr. Ramadan Abdullah, Head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, will be among the leaders of Palestinian groups who will be in attendance.
This summit may also provide a venue to address concerns some groups may have regarding the Iranian regime’s actions against protesters following Iran’s disputed June 2009 presidential election. In the fall of 2009, a story in the Persian press (spread later in the Arabic press) asserted that several Hezbollah leaders were afraid that their organization’s image would be sullied by the Islamic Republic’s crackdown on protesters. Furthermore, according to a Sunni Lebanese newspaper, in early January 2010, sources close to Hezbollah’s spiritual leader, Seyyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah, stated that he “emphasized during his last meeting with the representative of the Supreme Leader in Damascus the need to resolve the problem in Iran by embracing the opposition and by dialogue.” The statement was issued to clarify reports indicating that several leaders of the Iranian reform movement had sought Fadlallah’s help in resolving the Iranian post-election crisis.
On February 9, however, a Hezbollah leader, Sheikh Nabil Qaouq, reiterated that Iran’s strategic presence in the region and globally—in addition to its continuing support of resistance movements in Lebanon and Palestine—“represents a source of force and a strategic depth facing Israeli arrogance and American hegemony.” Qaouq also said that any act aimed at turning the conflict against Iran is an act of treason against the Islamic community. On February 26, President Ahmadinejad and Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki met with Hezbollah Leader Hassan Nasrallah while visiting Damascus.
A weak and challenged Iranian regime would represent bad news for Hezbollah and Hamas in terms of monetary and logistical support. Hamas, for instance, relies on an estimated $20 to 30 million sent by Iran per year. The Islamic Republic has helped keep Hamas afloat in Gaza, especially following Israel’s “Operation Cast Lead,” which took place from December 2008 to January 2009."