Iran will do “whatever it takes” to help Hamas in its war with Israel, Iran’s Quds Force commander Esmail Qaani said in a message to top Hamas commander Mohammed Deif, state media reported on Thursday.
“Your brothers in the resistance axis stand united with you and will not allow the enemy to reach its dirty goals in Gaza and Palestine,” Qaani said in a letter addressed to Deif, leader of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas.
The “resistance axis” refers to a network of regional militant groups supported by Iran, including Hamas, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, various militias in Iraq and Syria, and the Houthi militia in Yemen.
“We stand by our fraternal pledge that unites us and we assure you that we will do whatever it takes in this historic battle,” Qaani added in the letter, shared by Iranian state news agency IRNA.
The Quds Force, headed by Qaani, is the foreign operations arm of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
The publication of Qaani’s letter comes a day after a Reuters report that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei told Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh earlier this month that Tehran would not go to war with Israel on behalf of the Palestinian group.
Earlier on Thursday, senior Hamas official Osama Hamdan dismissed the report as “pure lies.” Iran has not commented on it.
The latest escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict began when Hamas militants crossed into Israel from its southern border on October 7, killing 1,200 people and taking around 240 others as hostages, according to Israeli officials.
Retaliatory attacks by Israel on Gaza have killed more than 11,000 people, according to health authorities in the Hamas-ruled enclave.
Iran, a key source of financial and military support for Hamas, praised the October 7 Hamas attack while denying any involvement in its planning or execution.
Israel has long accused Iran of exacerbating violence by supplying arms to Hamas. Tehran refuses to recognize Israel and has made support for the Palestinian cause a fundamental component of its foreign policy since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.
Iran and Israel have for years engaged in a covert conflict, with Iran accusing Israel of orchestrating sabotage attacks and assassinations targeting its nuclear program.