The commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guard extraterritorial Quds force says the ‘resistance front’ headed by Tehran supports Hamas militants in their conflict with Israel.
“In support of the Axis of Resistance, we will undertake all necessary measures during this historic battle.” Esmail Qaani told the commanders of the Tehran-backed groups on Thursday, Iran's semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.
"Resistance Axis" refers to an alliance of Iran-backed armed groups in the Middle East controlled by the Quds Force, that oversees financial and military support to Tehran’s proxies in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and elsewhere.
It appears that while Iran's leadership and diplomatic apparatus attempt to maintain a distance from the ongoing war, hardliners such as IRGC commanders continue to push the boundaries.
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has publicly endorsed Hamas ideology to destroy Israel and has made statements that can be interpreted as signals to proxy groups in the region, to attack Israeli ships and other targets, while rejecting any responsibility for such attacks. The same tactic has been used regarding attacks on US forces in the region.
Additionally, the Iranian Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, addressed the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas during an interview with CBS on Wednesday, stating, "We did not want this crisis to escalate."
The ongoing war began with Hamas fighters rampaging into Israel on October 7, killing more than 1,200 people and taking at least 240 hostages.
The United States has also warned Iran not to escalate the conflict in the region.
As reported by Reuters, US President Joe Biden urged Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday to dissuade Iran from taking provocative steps that might aggravate the war.