Is Hamas helping to quell Iran riots?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009 |  Israel Today Staff

Several Iranians caught up in the post-presidential election rioting in Tehran told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that armed Arab forces aligned with the Palestinian terror group Hamas are playing an active role in suppressing the supporters of Mir Mousavi, who is believed to have lost a rigged election to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Some 20 Iranians have been killed so far at protest rallies that have now spread to other major Iranian cities. People who say they witnessed some of the killings insist they were carried out by Palestinian gunmen.

"The most important thing that I believe people outside of Iran should be aware of is the participation of Palestinian forces in these riots," said one young man.

Another man said he hoped Israel would soon "come to its senses" and deal ruthlessly with "those Palestinian animals."

When asked by the Post if perhaps the Arab gunmen he had seen could have been Lebanese terrorists aligned with Hizballah, he replied that on the streets of Tehran it is no secret - Arab forces aligned with Hamas are operating in the city on behalf of the regime.

Hamas, for its part, has publicly welcomed Ahmadinejad's reelection. The group has long been known to receive arms and funding from Iran, and Hamas terrorists often receive training in the Islamic Republic before returning to the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Wednesday cautioned those in the international community against getting too gung-ho about backing Ahmadinejad's opponent. In an interview with Army Radio, Barak noted that Mir Mousavi is no less a fundamentalist Islamic demagogue than Ahmadinejad, and that his presidency would almost certainly not mark the end of Iran's nuclear program.

Barak's remarks echoed those of US President Barack Obama a day earlier, when he reminded reporters that Ahmadinejad and Mousavi share very similar views and policies, especially regarding Iran's quest for nuclear weapons.

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