Reuters: The European Union foreign policy chief suggested on Monday that Iran could be linked to the Hamas military takeover of Gaza, recent attacks on the Lebanese army, and on European peacekeepers in Lebanon. BRUSSELS, July 2 (Reuters) – The European Union foreign policy chief suggested on Monday that Iran could be linked to the Hamas military takeover of Gaza, recent attacks on the Lebanese army, and on European peacekeepers in Lebanon.
Javier Solana, who has led efforts to bring Iran back to the negotiating table over its nuclear programme, stopped short of blaming Tehran outright, but said the incidents could not be treated separately.
“What happened in Gaza cannot be seen separately from what happened in Lebanon,” he told a conference on the Middle East hosted by the Socialist group of the European Parliament.
“There are new groups in the Palestinian camps,” Solana said. “And the fact that UNIFIL has been attacked for the first time cannot be taken separately.”
Solana said that while the car bomb attack that killed six Spanish members of the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) on June 24 was carried out by “forces we don’t know”, he added: “It would be naive not to see this as part of a global approach.”
“Somebody I know well — Ali Larijani — has said ‘we are supporting Hamas’,” he said, referring to the chief Iranian nuclear negotiator, who made the statement in an interview with Newsweek published last month.
“All this is connected,” Solana said. “It didn’t happen by accident or miracle, it was probably planned.”
“It would be difficult to understand without seeing other important regional players behind it,” he added, referring to “other forces” in Iran and Syria.
Solana also said a postponed meeting of Western and Arab Middle East mediators with Israeli and Palestinian leaders would probably now happen in Cairo in mid-July.
He said it was important to provide a new political impetus to the peace process, not just financial and humanitarian aid to the Palestinian government.
Solana also said that in the long run it would be necessary to have an international peacekeeping presence in the West Bank and Gaza, but this was not an immediate priority.