VIDEO: Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei’s 1998 Tehran Meeting With Hamas Founder Ahmad Yassin

Khamenei Tells Yassin: “We Are The Enemies Of The Zionists… This Cancerous Growth… And We Will Fight Them’; ‘We Are Proud Of You, You Are A Source of Honor For Islam.”

On November 9, 2023, a month after Hamas invaded southern Israel and massacred over 1,200 Israeli civilians on October 7, the office of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei published a video that included never-before-seen footage of a May 1998 meeting in Tehran between Khamenei and Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, who had arrived in Iran at the head of a Hamas delegation. Yassin was assassinated by Israel in 2004.

Since its establishment, Hamas has openly declared, in its 1988 charter and ever since,[1] that its goal is the destruction of Israel – a goal touted by Iran’s Islamic regime, which refers to Israel as a “cancerous growth.”

The video shows parts of the 1998 meeting, including Khamenei’s and Yassin’s discussion of the need to destroy Israel through military conflict, as well as scenes from the current Israel-Hamas war, with a focus on Gazans climbing on Israeli tanks and military vehicles, Hamas tunnels underneath Gaza, rocket attacks against Israel, and more. It also describes Hamas’s military evolution, achieved via Iranian efforts, from stone-throwing at the time of its establishment by Yassin up to its use today of rocket and drone attacks penetrating deep into Israeli territory.

The message sent by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei by publishing this video on his website was that the Islamic Republic of Iran stands behind its protégé and proxy Hamas and that 25 years after the Khamenei-Yassin meeting, and one month after October 7, Khamenei’s Iran is supporting Hamas ideologically and militarily, is guiding its activity in order to advance its goals in the region, and takes pride in the October 7 attack and its results.

In this way, Iran is taking ownership of Hamas, as having supported it from its earliest stages. Although Hamas is not a Shi’ite movement but a Sunni movement affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, its desire to destroy Israel and its explicit public declarations of this are considered by both as a religious obligation.

Thus, Khamenei tells Yassin in the video: “We are proud of you. We consider this Islamic movement to be a source of honor for Islam, [and] I see all of it to be completely compatible with Islamic principles and the laws of Islam and the Quran.”

Video of the 1998 Khamenei-Yassin meeting:

The following is a translation of the segments of the 1998 Khamenei-Yassin meeting from the video published by Khamenei’s official website.[2]

Khamenei To Yassin In 1998 Meeting: We Will Not Accept The Rule Of The Cancerous Growth In An Islamic Land, We Will Fight It; Your Words Are Entirely In Line With Islamic And Quranic Principles

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei told Sheikh Ahmad Yassin during the meeting:

“I believe that you, Mr. Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, and these brothers and the brothers in Palestine are fighting on the frontline of the war between Islam and unbelief, and the war between truth and falsehood…

“We have not recognized and will not recognize the usurping [Israeli] government in the Palestinian lands and the country of Palestine for even a single hour. We oppose the Zionists, that usurping government, and that cancerous growth that they have planted in the Islamic lands, and we will fight it. We have no doubt about the future. What’s important is the plan of action, so that the time needed for this will be shortened as much as is possible…

“Of course, we are proud of you. We consider this Islamic movement to be a source of honor for Islam. I carefully listened to what you said, and I see all of it to be completely compatible with Islamic principles and the laws of Islam and the Quran. Without a doubt, this will be victorious. God’s promise is true when He says, “Allah will surely help those who help his cause – indeed, Allah is strong and mighty [Quran 22:40].”

Yassin To Khamenei In 1998 Meeting: We Will Continue To Fight Until We Attain Victory Or Martyrdom And Until Jerusalem And The Al-Aqsa Mosque Are Liberated

Ahmad Yassin said to Khamenei:

“First of all, I am thankful to you for this good meeting and for these good hours where I have had the opportunity to be in the land of the Islamic Revolution… We need the support of everyone in all the Arab and Islamic lands for us to be able to strengthen the Islamic ranks and help the Palestinian people so that they can stand firmly and strongly in confronting the Zionist-U.S. aggressions, God willing…

“I am also thankful for the firm stance taken by the Leader and the people of Iran with regard to the Palestinian cause…

“We won’t relinquish even a bit or a handspan of the territory of our homeland. We will remain committed to Islam. We will continue to be fighters who either achieve victory or are martyred, God willing, so that Al-Quds [Jerusalem] and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the first qibla of the Muslims, are freed.”


[1] See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 10897, The Hamas Charter – The Ideology Behind The Massacre, October 23, 2023; MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 1313, Hamas Policy Document: Palestinian State In 1967 Borders Is ‘National, Agreed-upon and Joint Formula’ By Hamas, PLO – Yet Armed Struggle Will Continue, And Palestine Extends From River To Sea, May 5, 2017.

[2], November 9, 2023.


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EDITORS NOTE: The MEMRI column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

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