Iran and the Palestinian Nationalist Movement


Since its establishment in 1979, the Islamic Republic of Iran has become a leading patron of the Palestinian cause. Tehran’s motivation is twofold: it seeks an independent Palestinian state established at Israel’s expense and uses Palestinian nationalist movements to export its Islamic Revolution.

Any peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would contradict Iran’s narrative that Israel is the cause of all conflict and instability in the Middle East. Therefore, Tehran works to undermine Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts through military support to Palestinian groups, direct and indirect social support for the Palestinians, and infiltration of the Palestinian diaspora.


The Iranian regime supports the Palestinian cause as a means to thwart Israeli-Palestinian rapprochement and spread its hegemonic, revolutionary dogma throughout the Arab world. It uses indirect military support to various Palestinian factions, direct social support, and weaponization of the Palestinian diaspora to undercut Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations and maintain a hold over the course of the Palestinian nationalist movement and cause. By supporting more extreme factions and actors to undermine pragmatists and moderates, Tehran ensures the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will remain a point of contention which it can exploit.