Will Abbas visit Iran?

PA media reports that PA chairman received an invitation to Tehran. Abbas's associates deny.

Elad Benari ,

Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas
Flash 90

Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas received an invitation to visit Tehran on Sunday, i24news reported, citing PA media outlets.

The Ma’an news agency stated that Abbas "has not rejected" the offer to visit Iran, which was reportedly scheduled for the next few days.

Abbas last visited Iran in 2012, when he attended the summit of the 120-nation Non-Aligned Movement.

During that visit, the PA chairman met with then-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and asked for his help in establishing a Palestinian state along the pre-1967 borders.

Iran has been traditionally closer to Hamas, the longtime rival of Abbas's Fatah movement.

Relations between Hamas and Iran soured several years ago, when Hamas refused to support Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, a close ally of Iran's, in the uprising against him. An angry Iran then reportedly stopped supplying the terror group with weapons.

This past summer, however, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh thanked Iran for its "unlimited" support for the Al-Qassam Brigades and its contribution to the development of Hamas's military capabilities, an indication that the rift was over.

In October, a high-ranking Hamas delegation headed by sanctioned terrorist Salah al-Aruri visited Tehran.

During that visit, Aruri declared that Hamas and Iran had agreed to set aside their past differences.

Abbas in recent weeks has been trying to rally support in the Arab world in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

He traveled to Turkey last week to join a conference of Islamic leaders who declared eastern Jerusalem the capital of the “State of Palestine”.

Amid rumors of his possible Iranian visit, Abbas has said he will boycott the visit of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence to Israel this week. On Saturday, Fatah called for a massive demonstration during Pence’s visit.

Meanwhile, two officials close to Abbas denied, when asked by The Times of Israel, that he had received an invitation to visit Iran.