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      Haniyeh Arrives in Tehran for Official Trip

      Despite attempts to stop him, Hamas' Gaza Prime Minister arrives in Iran, welcomed by foreign minister.
      By Elad Benari, Canada
      First Publish: 2/10/2012, 11:02 PM

      Ismail Haniyeh
      Ismail Haniyeh
      Flash 90

      Hamas’ Prime Minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, arrived in Tehran for an official trip on Friday.

      The Iranian Fars news agency reported that Haniyeh was welcomed by Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi at Tehran's International Airport. The visit is taking place following an official invitation extended to Haniyeh by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the report noted.

      Fars also reported that Haniyeh’s visit is taking place despite the desire of certain factions inside Hamas to get close to the Arab Spring and to the Gulf states. The report said that Haniyeh prefers to maintain Hamas’ close relations with Tehran.

      The report cited sources in Gaza who said Haniyeh is pushing for a split within Hamas due to his disagreement with the organization’s politburo chief Khaled Mashaal on the way the terror group should conduct itself.

      Recent reports indicated that a new camp within Hamas is interested in ending the terror group’s relationship with Iran.

      The report said the group’s deputy politburo chief Moussa Abu Marzouk is a member of this camp, but that he believes that Hamas should not disassociate itself from Iran without receiving something in return.

      This week it was reported that Gulf Arab nations were pressuring Haniyeh to cancel his trip to Tehran, warning him that his trip could cost him financial aid from countries such as Bahrain, Kuwait, and Qatar.

      Mashaal, meanwhile, has reportedly completely abandoned Hamas’ bureau in Syria and will be setting up shop in Qatar.

      (Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)