The fog in Iran obscures peace trail

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"Until the turmoil in Tehran is resolved, it will not become clear to the leadership of Hamas whether Iran will allow them to negotiate with Western officials at all", said David Martin Abrahams.

No progress has been made with the secret "Proximity" talks that have taken place in London recently between Western intelligence officials, Israelis and advisers to the Hamas Prime Minister Haniyya. Due to the influence of Tehran over the leadership of Hamas, Iran’s involvement in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is making it intractable. David Abrahams stresses that "Iran provided an overwhelming majority of arms to Hamas which were used in the recent conflict between Israel and Gaza. Currently Iran’s influence is creating a gridlock in peace efforts".

The West's attempts to successfully court Hamas have been undermined. Iran has sidelined Dr. Yusuf, one of Hamas' leaders in the talks, from his position as advisor to PM Haniyya and moved to a marginal position in the foreign ministry. Iran has also removed Gazi Hamad from being Haniyya's spokesman and moved to the position of the closed Rafah crossing station. David Abrahams assumes that "Iranian influence within Hamas is stronger than those within the organization that seek dialogue with Israel and the West".

Iran’s aim is to build a nuclear bomb and extend its strategic reach throughout the Middle East. To achieve this, Tehran needs to deter Israel from launching a unilateral attack on their nuclear facilities, and will foster instability in Gaza as part of that deterrence.

Regardless of the leadership that emerges in Tehran – be that the weakened old guard or the reformists – will persist in using the people living in Gaza as pawns in Iran's attempts to become a nuclear power. Talking to Hamas is not enough to bring about peace for Israel because they will only act on Tehran's orders.

As President Obama said, "The world is watching". However, David Abrahams is determined that "This year's events in Tehran will determine the peace prospects across the Middle east for a generation".

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