Iran in shadow of peace deal: Missile fire on Israel from Gaza – analysis
Iran backs Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza and coordinates closely with them.
Members of the Iranian Army take part in the annual military drill, dubbed “Zolphaghar 99”, in the Gulf of Oman, Iran on September 7, 2020
(photo credit: WANA NEWS AGENCY/REUTERS)
Iranian media stressed that rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza during the signing of the peace deals with the UAE and Bahrain. Fars News said that the rocket sirens were heard in Ashkelon and Ashdod “at the same time as Arab, American and Zionists officials gathered at the White House.”
Fars News put the details up quickly on its site online, indicating it was either paying close attention or had advance knowledge of the strikes. Iran’s media sought to highlight the rocket fire immediately to distract from the signing ceremony. Iran backs Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza and coordinates closely with them. Fars News said the rockets were fired at the “Zionist settlements of Ashkelon and Ashdod.”
Fars News appeared to claim it had relied on a Reuters and Yediot Ahronot account, but its photos and explanatory text indicated it had done more work on this issue. The Iranian media was interested in the “size of the rocket” used and also Israel’s air defense systems being activated.
Fars News claims that Israel’s assertions that it intercepted the rockets were “not true” and it showed images of a shop allegedly damaged, “two people were injured.” The Iranian media, which is close to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, stressed that this rocket fire came during the signing of the agreement with the UAE and Bahrain.
This was obvious, and others have drawn the conclusions that the Palestinian armed factions in Gaza did this on purpose directly timed to the speeches of the signing.
However, what is of interest here is that the Iranian media generally tried to ignore the signing. In the past Iran has led the charge in condemnation of the new agreements. It has accused the Gulf states of “betraying” the Palestinians. Iran’s regime has opposed US President Donald Trump’s “Deal of the Century.”
Iran has increased its rhetoric in recent weeks, slamming Bahrain for joining the agreements and hinting that it could try to undermine Bahrain’s leaders or strike at the country. Last September Iran used drones and cruise missiles to attack Saudi Arabia. It has also sent drones and missiles to the Houthi rebels in Yemen.
The Houthis have been increasing attacks on Saudi Arabia. Recent reports in Gulf and Austrian media have accused Qatar of being linked to the Houthis. Qatar also has warm relations with Iran, helps pay salaries in Gaza, has hosted Hamas and is close to Turkey. Turkey, like Iran, has slammed the Israel deals with the Gulf and Turkey’s current leadership has vowed to “liberate Al-Aqsa” in Jerusalem.
In contrast to Fars News, Tasnim news in Iran stressed that Trump might be open to a new Iran Deal, a story based on US media reports. It also stressed pro-Iranian groups support for attacks on US troops in Iraq. It also highlighted Hamas in Gaza condemning the Israeli deal and other issues.
Overall the Iranian coverage indicates that Tehran is paying close attention to the rocket fire on Israel and the deal with the Gulf. It wants to emphasize the role of Hamas. Hamas leaders recently also met Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Hamas is seeking to increase its clout in Lebanon with a high level delegation staying in Lebanon for weeks. Hamas has also met with Hezbollah. Iran appears to seek to highlight the Hamas role in order to counteract the agreements between Israel and the Gulf.
Al-Mayadeen media, which tends to support Iran and its proxies, also has highlighted the increasing role of Hamas. In general the narrative seems to be that if Israel and the UAE and Bahrain are increasing their connections, then Iran will at least pretend that its friends and allies, such as Hezbollah and Hamas, are increasing their role.