An Iranian official reportedly met with a Hamas delegation in an unnamed Arab country just days before Mashaal was due to make a visit to Tehran that would have included a meeting with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The Iranian official informed the Hamas leaders of the unprecedented cancellation, but did not offer specific reasons for the move.
Reports said the official then spoke about Hamas’s improving relations with Saudi Arabia, noting that Tehran is not supportive of the budding friendship. The official added that in light of Iran’s uncompromising support of the Palestinians—in the economic, military, and political spheres—the recent meetings between Mashaal and Saudi officials in Riyadh were viewed by Iran as a personal affront.
In interviews over the past few days, senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk has said that Hamas’s relationship with Iran is now virtually nonexistent.