Iran condemned the IDF operation in Nablus, in which three armed Palestinians, who fired at an IDF force, were killed. Additionally, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman condemned Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir’s visit to the Temple Mount.
Reuters reported on a recent meeting between senior officials from the IRGC’s Qods Force and Hamas, during which they discussed the internal crisis in Israel. According to the report, the senior officials decided not to intervene in the crisis to avoid providing Prime Minister Netanyahu with an excuse to divert attention outward.
Newsweek published an investigative report on the Imam Hossein Division, the pro-Iranian militia considered the strongest in Syria and linked to the IRGC’s Qods Force. According to the report, the militia has been responsible for firing rockets and drones at American and Israeli targets in recent years.
Iran condemned the attack carried out by ISIS on July 27, 2023, in the Shiite quarter on the outskirts of Damascus, in which six people were killed. There were no casualties among Iranian pilgrims.
The Iranian ambassador to Syria met in Damascus with the Syrian minister of transportation and the two discussed the expansion of cooperation in the fields of air, sea, and land transportation between the two countries and the implementation of the agreements signed between the two countries in this area.
The Iranian ambassador to Iraq met with the Iraqi president and discussed the strengthening of cooperation between the two countries. A senior official at the Iranian Trade Development Organization reported a 24 percent increase in the volume of Iranian exports to Iraq in the first quarter of the current Iranian year.
Iranian Intervention in the Palestinian Arena
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nasser Kanani condemned the IDF operation in Nablus on July 25, 2023, in which three armed Palestinians were killed when they fired at an IDF force at the entrance gate to Mount Gerizim. Kanani conveyed his condolences to the families of those killed, the Palestinian people, and the “Palestinian resistance groups,” saying that the blood of the Palestinian martyrs would not be in vain and that the decline of the “fake regime, the Zionist occupier and terrorist” is close (Fars, July 25, 2023). On July 27, 2023, Kanani also condemned Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir’s visit to the Temple Mount. The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman twitted that the Israeli minister’s presence on the Temple Mount was another step in the process of harming Islamic holy sites and Muslim feelings around the world.
Senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzuq praised Iran’s support for the Palestinians in an interview given to Shehab News. According to his statement, Iran is actually fighting alongside the “resistance in Palestine” through its generous support and even bearing the consequences of its support for the resistance (Mehr, July 25, 2023).
Reuters reported (July 25, 2023), citing an Iranian diplomat, that senior officials from the IRGC’s Qods Force and Hamas recently held a three-hour meeting to discuss the internal crisis in Israel. According to the report, the officials decided not to intervene in the crisis because they had reached the conclusion that Israel had already weakened as a result of the crisis, and that direct intervention could help Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu divert attention outward. A Hamas source refused to comment on the report, telling Reuters that there are ongoing discussions between Hamas and the Qods Force about the situation and about “upgrading the resistance activities.” The Iranian foreign ministry did not comment on the matter.
Iranian Intervention in Syria and Lebanon
Newsweek published an investigative report on the Imam Hossein Division, the pro-Iranian militia considered the strongest in Syria and linked to the IRGC’s Qods Force. The report is based on information received from the intelligence service of a “friendly country.” According to the report, the division was established in 2016 by Qods Force Commander Qassem Soleimani and consists of thousands of fighters from the region. It is capable of attacking the American forces in Syria as well as Israel. Most of the fighters are Syrians, along with Lebanese, Afghans, Pakistanis, Yemenis, Sudanese, and others, who came to Syria as part of the “holy war” waged by the Shiite Axis against ISIS.
The division played a central role in the war waged by the Assad regime against the rebels and ISIS during the civil war in Syria, and its fighters remained in the area under the command of the Qods Force even after ISIS was defeated. According to the document, the division is the most elite fighting force of the Qods Force in Syria, equipped with solid capabilities. It possesses precision-guided munitions and drones for attack and espionage purposes, in addition to a variety of lighter weapons. According to the intelligence source, the militia was responsible for the barrage of drones and rockets that hit the American base in Al-Tanf in southeastern Syria in October 2021. The militia has also been involved in a series of attacks against Israel in recent years, including the launch of a surface-to-surface missile from Syria in January 2019, rocket fire in June of the same year, and the drone attack thwarted by the IDF in August 2019. Its weapons are supplied from Iran through airports in Syria, cargo ships to the port city of Latakia, and trucks crossing the border through Iraq. According to the source who spoke to Newsweek, the division coordinates all Iranian activities in Syria, with Hezbollah playing a critical role in its establishment (Newsweek, July 21, 2023).
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nasser Kanani condemned the July 27 attack in the Shiite quarter of Al-Sayyida Zaynab on the outskirts of Damascus, in which six people were killed. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack. A few days earlier, another attack was carried out, targeting a bus carrying Shiite pilgrims near the same area. Kanani accused Israel and the United States of supporting the “terrorist groups” responsible for the attacks in Damascus (Fars, July 27, 2023). According to the deputy head of the Iranian Pilgrimage Organization, there were no casualties among Iranian pilgrims (ISNA, July 27, 2023).
On July 26, 2023, Iranian Ambassador to Syria Hossein Akbari met with Syrian Minister of Transportation Zuhair Khazim. During the meeting, the two stressed the need to formulate plans for the implementation of the agreements signed between the two countries in the field of transportation. They also discussed strengthening cooperation in the fields of air, sea, and land transportation, creating a transportation link between Iran, Syria, and Iraq, and providing facilitations to passengers in the airports of both countries (ISNA, July 26, 2023).
On July 19, 2023, Iranian Justice Minister Amin Hossein Rahimi met in Damascus with his Syrian counterpart, Ahmad al-Sayyed. During the meeting, the two sides discussed the legal cooperation between the two countries and the establishment of a legal committee to promote joint issues in international forums (SANA, July 19, 2023).
Speaking at the UN Security Council on July 24, 2023, Iranian Ambassador to the UN Saeed Irvani expressed Iran’s continued support for Syria and the international efforts to aid its citizens. He stressed that in addition to humanitarian aid, there is a need to rehabilitate Syria’s infrastructure and improve its economy. Irvani condemned the continuation of the sanctions imposed on Syria, saying that they were a significant factor delaying the improvement of the humanitarian and economic situation in the country. The ambassador expressed support for the continuation of the negotiations between Syria and Turkey and for international efforts to promote political arrangement in Syria. He also condemned the continuation of Israeli attacks in Syria, especially the damage to civilian infrastructure, and called on the Security Council to act to stop those attacks, which, he claimed, violate international law and Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity (ISNA, July 24, 2023).
Iranian Intervention in Iraq
On July 23, 2023, Iranian Ambassador to Baghdad Mohammad Kazem Al-e Sadegh met with Iraqi President Abdul Latif Rashid. The Iraqi president stressed the need to strengthen and expand cooperation between the two countries, including in the fight against drought and climate change. The Iranian ambassador also stressed the need to expand bilateral cooperation to promote stability and prosperity in both countries (ISNA, July 23, 2023).
Farzan Piltan, director general for West Asian affairs at the Iranian Organization for Trade Development, said that in the first three months of the current Iranian year (March-June 2023), Iranian exports to Iraq increased by 24 percent compared to the same period last year, reaching $2.348 billion. Iranian exports included natural gas, iron, tomatoes, animal feed, polyethylene, powdered milk, and plastics (Mehr, July 25, 2023).