Iran was said to have forged relationships with leading members of the Fatah movement.

Officials said Iran and Hizbullah were seeking to coopt members of the Fatah leadership, particularly the Central Committee. They said the campaign was meant to prod the ruling Palestinian movement into a diplomatic relationship with Teheran.

“Iran sees an opportunity in the expanding divisions within Fatah and the complete absence of a vision for the future,” an official said.

One of Iran’s new allies in the Fatah leadership was identified as Jibril Rajoub, a former Palestinian Authority security chief and regarded as one of the most powerful men in the Fatah.

Iran reported that Rajoub recently met Iran’s ambassador to Lebanon, Ghazanfar Roknabadi.

“Fatah Central Committee deputy secretary, Jibril Rajoub, has called for promotion of bilateral relations between Iran and the Palestinian Fatah movement,” Iran’s official Irna news agency said.

In a report on May 1, Irna cited a statement by the Iranian embassy in Beirut. The embassy told of a meeting between Rajoub and Iranian ambassador Roknabadi, but did not say when or where this took place.

“The senior Fatah official hoped Palestinians would witness freedom of their lands by continuous support being offered by Iran and other supporters of Palestine as well,” Irna said.

Rajoub, who established the powerful Preventive Security Apparatus in 1994, has long been regarded as a supporter of cooperation with Israel and the United States. Since his retirement from PSA in 2002, the 60-year-old Rajoub served in prominent positions, including security adviser to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and chairman of the Palestinian Olympic Committee.

Rajoub, who did not confirm the Irna report, has been a leading advocate of reconciliation between Fatah and the opposition Hamas movement. Iran was deemed the main supplier of military equipment to Hamas.