January 3 marks the first-year anniversary of the death of the former commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Corp’s (IRGC) Quds Force. To praise Qasem Soleimani and underline his image as a “hero” to Iran’s proxy groups, terrorist organizations in Lebanon and Palestine are letting their followers know just how much he will be missed.
On December 27, a senior member of Hamas, a Palestinian terrorist group told the Iranian regime’s Arab TV that Soleimani had given him and his companions $22 million in cash.
Mahmoud Al-Zahar told Al-Alam that in his first and last meeting with Soleimani in Tehran in 2006, he asked for money and was “swiftly” granted his request.
“The decision was quick. I had to travel the next day. In the airport, I saw several bags with $22 million. Our agreement with Soleimani was more than this but because we were only nine people, we could not carry more than this amount. Every bag could carry 40kg,” he said.
Al-Zahar is a co-founder of Hamas and a member of the Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip.
This is not the first time Iran’s financial and logistical aid to Hamas has made headlines.
Last year, Sami Abu Ayadah, in charge of the “Martyrs Committee” at the al-Ansar Charity Association said Iran provided financial aid every three months to 9,000 Palestinian martyrs’ families (7,000 in the Gaza Strip and 2,000 in the West Bank).
Abu Ayadah said the al-Ansar Charity Association, used by the Iranian regime to pay Hamas members, “offers financial aid of $600 every three months to the family of a martyr who was married, and $300 to the family of a martyr who was unmarried.”
On the same day, the Secretary General of Hezbollah, a Lebanese terrorist group founded by the Iranian regime, also praised Soleimani for his “logistical support” of Hamas and that he did not recognize “any red lines” in sending 9M133 Kornet missiles to Gaza for Hamas and the Islamic Jahad.
Hassan Nasrallah told the pro-Hezbollah Al Mayadeen news channel that the dead commander of the Quds Force financially aided the Lebanese terrorist group “unexpectedly and behind the scenes”.
He said that only in one example after the 33-day war in 2006, when 200,000 homes were destroyed, Soleimani paid one years’ worth of rent and expenses of the families who lost their homes.
The comments by the leaders of the regime’s proxy groups might garner support for Qasem Soleimani among members of Hamas and Hezbollah, but it has had the opposite effect in Iran.
Since major protests erupted across Iran in 2009 and again in 2018 and 2019, Iranian protesters have been chanting “No to Gaza and Lebanon, my life is Iran”.
It is no secret that the regime has prioritized the funding of its proxy forces in the region over aiding its own people. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic that has taken the lives of more than 192,000 people, officials refused to provide substantial financial aid to families who were forced to leave their homes and commute in packed metros to work. Healthcare workers who are at the front lines of the fight against the deadly pandemic have delayed wages and workers and other employees can barely make ends meet due to severe price hikes.
Soleimani was killed by the US on January 3 at the Baghdad International Airport. Videos showing ordinary Iranians celebrating his death with cakes, sweets, or just signs that congratulated the death of the “child killer” were shared on social media while the regime mourned the death of the second most powerful man in Iran.