BEIRUT – Any move to negotiate with Israel would be an “unforgivable mistake,” Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday, after Saudi Arabia’s crown prince said Israelis were entitled to live peacefully on their own land.
Saudi Arabia does not officially recognize Israel, but Muhammad bin Salman’s comments, quoted in the US magazine The Atlantic, are a further sign of an apparent thawing in bilateral ties.
hey come as mainly Sunni Saudi Arabia faces off against Shi’ite Iran in a regional power struggle. Tehran and Riyadh back opposing sides in the conflicts in Yemen and Syria as well as rival political groups in Iraq and Lebanon.
“Movement toward negotiation with the cheating, lying and oppressive regime
The statement, which did not explicitly name Saudi Arabia, said it was the duty of all Muslims to support Palestinian “resistance movements” and it pledged continued Iranian backing for Hamas.
After the crown prince’s comments, his father, King Salman, reiterated Saudi Arabia’s support for a Palestinian state.
Riyadh has long maintained that normalizing ties with Israel hinges on an Israeli withdrawal from land captured in the 1967 Middle East war.
However, Saudi Arabia opened its air space for the first time to a commercial flight from Delhi to Israel last month.
Reported by: Reuters/JPost