Iran’s ‘terrorist regime’ won’t prevent Israel from expanding Arab normalization – Netanyahu

Netanyahu pushes back on Ayatollah Khamenei’s claim that Arab states which make peace with Israel are ‘betting on the wrong horse.’

By Andrew Bernard, The Algemeiner

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday issued a stern warning to Iran and its Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, asserting that the Iranian regime won’t stop Israel from making peace agreements with Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries.

“While Khamenei’s terrorist regime exports ruin and destruction, Israel is advancing progress and peace,” Netanyahu said in a statement.

“Just as Iran did not prevent us from achieving the Abraham Accords, neither will it prevent us from further expanding the circle of peace for the benefit of the citizens of Israel, the peoples of the region, and all humanity.”

The Abraham Accords were a series of historic peace agreements between Israel and Arab states brokered with the help of the former Trump administration in the US.

Netanyahu’s statement was a rejoinder to Iran after Khamenei called Israel a “cancer” and lambasted countries for trying to normalize relations with the Jewish state.

“Imam [Ruhollah] Khomeini [who founded the Islamist regime in Iran] once described the usurper Zionist regime as a cancer. This cancer will definitely be eradicated at the hands of the Palestinian people,” Khamenei posted on X/Twitter earlier on Tuesday.

“Governments that are gambling on normalizing relations with the Zionist regime will lose. As the Europeans say, ‘They are betting on a losing horse.’ This is the Islamic Republic’s definite position.”

According to a spokesperson for the US National Security Council, Israel and Saudi Arabia have agreed to a “basic structure” for a potential normalization agreement negotiated by the United States.

For the Saudis, the terms of such a deal reportedly include a formal defense arrangement or partner status with the United States, a civilian nuclear power program, and some form of concessions for the Palestinians.

Khamenei wasn’t the only leader this week to warn against normalizing diplomatic relations with Israel.

Indeed, Hassan Nasrallah — the leader of Hezbollah, an Iran-backed terrorist group based in Lebanon — said on Monday that any such deal would undermine the Palestinians.

“The Zionists must hear the roars of the Muslim world,” Nasrallah said. “Instead, we’re seeing progress towards normalization. Any country that signs a normalization agreement must be condemned and its actions denounced. It is a very dangerous step and a stab [in the back] of the Palestinian people, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and an abandonment of Palestine.”

Nasrallah added that Arab countries needed to prevent Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque, frequently described as the third holiest site in Islam, from becoming a “Jewish synagogue.”

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For decades, Saudi Arabia had supported the Arab Peace Initiative, a 2002 Saudi-led proposal that called for the Arab states to normalize relations with Israel in exchange for Israel returning to its pre-1967 borders and recognizing a Palestinian state.

Under Saudi Arabia’s current de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, that proposal has apparently been sidelined, with the Crown Prince saying in a recent interview that “the Palestinian issue is very important” — but without drawing a red line under Palestinian statehood as a precondition for peace.