June 14, 2010, marks the third anniversary of the day the Gaza Strip fell to Hamas.  In June 2007, a masked Hamas fighter sitting at the desk of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, declared an end to the western-backed authority in the Gaza Strip. From that moment, Hamas took complete control of Gaza.  Today, Palestinian society is fragmented due to an internal political impasse, reducing the credibility of Palestinian political leaders in the public eye. 
In December 2009, Hamas approved a $540 million budget for 2010, the biggest share of which was from Iran. Mahmoud Abbas confirmed that in 2009 Iran gave Hamas $250 million and said Hamas could receive up to $500 million a year from the Islamic Republic: “As far as I know, Hamas receives $250 million. [Maybe] every six months, [maybe] every year. Hamas is funded by Iran. It claims it is financed by donations, but the donations are nothing like what it receives from Iran. It doesn’t amount to one fourth, one fifth, or even one percent of what [Hamas] gets from Iran.” 
Iran’s Ties To Hamas
As Davoud Hermidas Bavand, professor for political science in Tehran, notes: “There is no doubt that Iran is morally, politically and financially supporting Hamas.”  The relations between the Islamic Republic and the terrorist organization represent a strategic alliance across what was considered the great Islamic divide between a Sunni group and a Shiite regional power. 
Iran has financed Hamas for years with millions of dollars. Without this support from the Islamic Republic, Hamas’s network could not exist. Furthermore, Hamas fighters are being trained and instructed by commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).  Iran is delivering weapons in single components to the Sinai, paying the Sinai Bedouins for transferring these weapons through the Gaza tunnels. 
Hamas, the main Islamist movement in the Palestinian territories – and particularly strong in Gaza – was born soon after the 1987 Palestinian uprising or intifada erupted in 1987. During the 1990’s, Iran adopted the Palestinian Islamic Jihad organization– but not Hamas. Hamas was still linked to Sunni Arab states, mainly Saudi Arabia but also to Syria, which hosted the Hamas leadership- in-exile in the 1990’s and continues to do so. 
Iran replaced Saudi Arabia as Hamas’s main benefactor because of pressure from both the West and from the Palestinian Authority but mostly because Saudi Arabia viewed Hamas as an offshoot of radical elements such as Al Qaeda which the Saudi regime considers a threat.
Iran supplies Hamas with military and financial aid much the same it did with Hizballah in Lebanon, which it turned into an effective military force, as was illustrated in the war with Israel in Summer 2006. 
The blockade imposed on Gaza and the suspension of European financial aid to the Palestinian government after Hamas won the 2006 elections, represented a great opportunity for Iran to reinforce its regional influence. 
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