Iranian leader warns Saudis against "betting on losing horse" Israel

    REGION  03 October 2023 - 19:00

    Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said that Muslim countries that are normalizing with Israel are “betting on a losing horse,” state-run media reported on October 3, as regional rival Saudi Arabia moves toward establishing ties with Jerusalem.

    Khamenei also predicted Israel would soon be eradicated, in an address to government officials and ambassadors from Muslim countries on October 3, The Times of Israel reports.

    “The definitive stance of the Islamic Republic is that the governments which prioritize the gamble of normalization with the Zionist regime will incur losses,” he said in remarks carried by Iran’s state-run and semi-official media.

    “As the Europeans say, they are betting on a losing horse,” Khamenei said. “Today, the situation of the Zionist regime is not one that should motivate closeness to it; they shouldn’t make this mistake.”

    Iran, which recently restored diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia, has repeatedly warned its erstwhile enemy and other Muslim countries against a US-backed normalization process with regional foe Israel.

    On Sunday, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said normalization efforts with Israel are “reactionary and regressive.”

    In his speech on October 3, Khamenei also predicted Palestinians would destroy Israel, which he called a “cancer.”

    “This cancer will certainly, God willing, be eradicated by the hands of the Palestinian people and the resistance forces throughout the region,” he said.

    The prospects of an Israel-Saudi peace deal, brokered by the US, have seemingly increased in recent weeks. On Friday, the White House said that a “basic framework” for such a deal is already in place and in the past week, two Israeli ministers have visited the Islamic kingdom.

    Tehran and Riyadh recently ended a seven-year rift in a Chinese-brokered rapprochement. But tensions over the war in Yemen resurfaced last week after an attack blamed on Iran-backed Houthi rebels killed four soldiers who were patrolling Saudi Arabia’s southern border. The soldiers were from Bahrain, a close Saudi ally, and Bahrain blamed the Houthis, who have not publicly acknowledged the attack.

    On October 2, a Saudi soccer team refused to play an Iranian team in Tehran because of the presence of statues of the slain Iranian general Qassem Soleimani at the stadium.

    Caliber.Az

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