Iran gave Hamas technology for long-range missiles
Reuters in Dubai
Iran has supplied Hamas in Gaza with the technology to "quickly" produce longer-range missiles on their own without needing direct shipments, said a report yesterday that quoted the head of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard.
The comments by General Mohammad Ali Jafari offer some of the clearest insights on Iran's weapons support for Hamas, whose Iranian-engineered Fajr-5 missiles have struck near Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
"Gaza is under siege, so we cannot help them. The Fajr-5 missiles have not been shipped from Iran. Its technology has been transferred and [the missiles are] being produced quickly," Jafari said was quoted as saying by the semiofficial ISNA news agency.
Iran has repeatedly denied it directly supplied Hamas with the Fajr-5. The ISNA report gave no further details on the level of missile know-how sent to Gaza.
Israel charges that Iran sends weapons, including rockets, to Gaza through a network of smuggling tunnels under the 15-kilometre border between Gaza and Egypt.
Iran also backs the anti-Israel faction Hezbollah in Lebanon, which fired thousands of rockets into Israel during a month-long 2006 war. Iran's parliament speaker, Ali Larijani, meanwhile, said his country was "honoured" that Iran could help Palestinians with "material and military aspects".
He did not elaborate.
He criticised Arab countries for failing to help arm Hamas and other Palestinian group. "The Palestinian nation does not need speeches and meetings. Arab countries should send military aid," he was quoted as saying by the semiofficial Fars news agency.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei also chided other Muslim nations for not rallying behind Gaza in the latest showdown with Israel.