Questions of Iranian Influence
The shocking and unprecedentedly complex Hamas attacks on communities in southern Israel and the predictable large-scale Israeli response in Gaza has resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent persons. The Hamas attack and Israeli response have also created conditions which threaten to spread the conflict to other countries, including Iran. Iran’s leadership has denied responsibility for the Hamas attack, applauded its effectiveness, and threatened to expand the conflict in the region if Israel expands its operations in Gaza. Iranian political opposition leaders and much of the Iranian public have declared positions that are markedly more sensitive to Israeli suffering and in opposition to the hundreds of millions of dollars that Iran has spent over the decades in support of Hamas and other factions opposed to Israel.