PFLP Boasts About its Ties to Iran

In a recent interview, Abu Jamal, a spokesperson for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine’s Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, stated the group and the ‘Palestinian Resistance’ benefited from Iranian support in its war against Israel.

“We and the Islamic Republic fought the Zionist enemy in Lebanon and we also fought them in Gaza and the West Bank with the support of the Islamic Republic (sic),” Jamal stated.

Furthermore, Jamal lauded the relationship the group had with Iran and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) by referring to them as ‘blood brothers’ and ‘comrades’ that shared a ‘common destiny’ in defeating Israel.

It’s unclear when Iran began supporting the group. However, in 2013, Iran reportedly resumed military and financial support to the group after leaders from both sides held several meetings in Tehran, Beirut and Damascus under the auspices of Hezbollah.

Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, PFLP, and Popular Resistance Committees have boasted about their relationship with Iran including military support they have received. After the May conflict in Gaza, the aforementioned groups praised Iran and Hezbollah for their military support during the eleven days of fighting. Additionally, smaller Palestinian factions have benefited from some Iranian aid including the now defunct Harakat al-Sabireen.

The close relationship between Iran and the PFLP was also on display when a PFLP delegation met with President Ibrahim Raisi after his swearing in ceremony in Aug. As expected, Raisi affirmed the Islamic Republic’s continued support for the ‘Palestinian Resistance’ and the ‘liberation of Palestine.’

It is difficult to say to what extent Iran has supported the PFLP militarily and financially. The group has purposely been ambiguous about what it exactly receives in terms of funding and arms from Iran. However, it’s likely larger groups such as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad receive the lion share of military guidance, weapons and funding from the assistance Iran has allocated for the ‘Palestinian Resistance.’

Despite what it may or may not receive in military and financial support, the PFLP has made no qualms about showing its support and allegiance to the Islamic Republic and other members of the ‘Resistance Axis.’ After the May 2021 Gaza-Israel conflict, the PFLP held a military parade where its fighters showed their support for Iran and the IRGC by displaying pictures of former Quds Force Lieutenant-General Qasem Soleimani.

Joe Truzman is an editor and senior research analyst at FDD's Long War Journal focused primarily on Palestinian armed groups and non-state actors in the Middle East.

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