Iran warns Saudi Arabia against normalizing relations with Israel

Iran’s supreme leader warns against normalizing ties with Israel, as US and Saudi Arabia work towards bilateral deal.

By World Israel News Staff

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, warned Wednesday against normalizing ties with Israel, as the U.S. and Riyadh work towards a deal widely seen as a stepping stone towards a broader deal which would establish formal relations between the Saudi kingdom and the Jewish state.

In recent months, the Biden administration has been quietly pursuing a bilateral agreement between Washington and Riyadh, cementing security ties and opening the door to greater technology sharing between the two countries.

The talks, which are a continuation of diplomatic efforts during the Trump administration, would also pave the way for a comprehensive deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia, normalizing relations for the first time between Jerusalem and Riyadh.

Ayatollah Khamenei warned against any such move, however, saying in an address that the Arab-Israeli conflict would not be “settled” until Israel has been “returned to the Palestinian people.”

“These people imagine the matter will be settled if they persuade regional countries to normalize relations with the Zionist regime,” Khamenei said. “They’re wrong. The problem won’t be solved until Palestine is returned to the Palestinian people.”

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According to reports Wednesday, the Biden administration and Riyadh are also considering a scaled-down agreement, limited to a bilateral deal with no overture to Israel for a trilateral agreement.

Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican representing South Carolina, said such a proposal would not receive the necessary two-thirds backing to be ratified by the Senate.

“Now is the time to be crystal clear about what can and cannot happen in the U.S. Senate regarding potential agreements between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.”

“If there is a mutual defense agreement negotiated in the form of a treaty, it needs 67 votes in the Senate to become binding. Without normalizing the Israeli-Saudi relationship and ensuring the security needs of Israel regarding the Palestinian file, there would be very few votes for a mutual defense agreement between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.”

“This has been true since the very beginning and remains so today.”