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Since taking power in 2007, Hamas has imposed Islamic, or Shariah, law on Gaza and authorized police to enforce religious laws that include a ban on dancing and a requirement that women wear head scarves called hijabs — regulations similar to those of its erstwhile Shiite backer Iran.

“The relations between [Iran and Hamas] were based on mutual interests, since Iran was providing political and financial support to the Hamas movement in and out of the Gaza Strip,” said Nagi Shorab, a political analyst and lecturer at Al Azhar University in Gaza. “Things, however, started to change, especially after Hamas criticized Bashar al Assad.”

Observers noted that the Hamas government delayed paying its civil servants and security forces in July and August, and they suspect that Iran has reduced or even halted its funding to the Gazan leadership.

“We paid a very high price for disagreeing with Iran,” said Gazi Hamad, Hamas‘ deputy minister of foreign affairs.

In addition, Gazan Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh declined an invitation to attend the 16th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Iran in August. Analysts saw that as a sign that the group’s relationship with Iran was unraveling — and not only because of differences over Syria.

“Within Hamas, I think there was initially a great deal of ambivalence about warming up to Iran,” said Mr. Shorab. “Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt whose ideological views differ greatly from Shiites.”

Sunnis and Shiites differ over the successor to Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, the use of religious icons and the proscription of proper attire, among other issues.

Looking toward Egypt

Observers say that Hamas‘ relationship with Iran has been undermined by Egypt’s new leadership — Islamists with close ties to Hamas.

“With the Muslim Brotherhood in power in Egypt, which might be less happy with a close relationship with Iran, I think that Hamas will find it trickier to maintain the relationship [with Iran],” said Yossi Mekelberg, a Middle East analyst at the Chatham House think tank in London.

Still, analysts say, Hamas is unlikely to find Egyptian support for armed resistance in the struggle for a Palestinian state because the government in Cairo needs to maintain peace with Israel in order to continue receiving about $1 billion a year in military aid from the United States.

“Although [Egyptian President Mohamed] Morsi certainly in his instincts is very anti-American, he has to walk a very fine line,” Mr. Landis said. “Egypt is very dependent on the United States for its lavish military aid, and it needs peace with Israel. And that means that, although it can lend some rhetorical support to Hamas, it is unlikely to help Hamas win a war against Israel.”

Mr. Morsi has spoken of a realignment of U.S.-Egyptian relations since taking office this summer and a renewed commitment to the Palestinian movement.