Tehran has called on the Arab world to avoid normalizing relations with the ?Zionist regime?
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has warned the Arab world against normalizing relations with Israel, predicting that the Jewish state will eventually "be eradicated."
"The definitive stance of the Islamic Republic is that the governments which make the gamble of normalization with the Zionist regime will lose," Khamenei said on Tuesday, according to Iranian state media.
"As the Europeans say, they are betting on a losing horse," the Ayatollah continued, calling Israel a "cancer" that will "God willing, be eradicated by the hands of the Palestinian people and the resistance forces throughout the region."
White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters last week that a "basic framework" is in place for a US-brokered peace deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel. Such a deal would build on former US President Donald Trump's 'Abraham Accords', which saw Bahrain, Morocco, Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates agree to establish diplomatic and economic relations with Israel.
Iran and Saudi Arabia are the largest geopolitical rivals in the Middle East, and a normalization deal between Riyadh and West Jerusalem would be a major strategic blow to Tehran.
Prior to Kirby's announcement, Saudi Arabia had apparently been drifting away from American influence, with Riyadh reportedly working on a deal to sell oil to China in yuan and signing a Beijing-brokered normalization deal with Iran in March. Saudi Arabia and Iran also received invitations in August to join the BRICS group of emerging economies, an informal bloc led by Russia and China.
Speaking at a conference of Islamic scholars on Sunday, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi denounced the idea of rapprochement between Israel and the Muslim world.
"Normalizing relations with the Zionist regime is a reactionary and regressive move by any government in the Islamic world," he said. "The only option for all the fighters in the occupied land and the Islamic world is to resist and stand against the enemies," he continued, adding that Iran continues to support the "liberation" of Jerusalem from Israeli occupation.
"While the terror regime of Khamenei sows destruction and carnage, Israel is advancing progress and peace," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a video response to Khamenei. "Just like Iran did not prevent us from achieving the Abraham Accords, Iran will also not prevent us from expanding further the circle of peace for the good of the citizens of Israel, peoples of the region and humanity as a whole."