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Iranian supreme leader, Hezbollah chief pressure Saudi Arabia not to make ‘dangerous’ peace deal with Israel

Netanyahu in response: 'Iran will not prevent us from further expanding the circle of peace...'

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during a meeting with the guests of the Islamic Unity Conference in Tehran, Iran, Oct. 3, 2023. (Photo: Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader/WANA via REUTERS)

As Israel and Saudi Arabia are on the cusp of normalizing ties in an historic peace agreement, some prominent Arab and Muslim leaders in the region are not hiding their dismay.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that countries seeking to normalize relations with Israel "are betting on a losing horse.”

Hassan Nasrallah, secretary-general of Hezbollah – Iran's Lebanese proxy – said that such countries “must be condemned.”

In a speech delivered on Tuesday to mark the anniversary of Prophet Muhammad's birth, Khamenei said: "The definite position of the Islamic Republic is that countries that make the gamble of normalization with Israel will lose.” 

"The Zionist regime is full of hate and anger, not only toward Iran but toward other countries in the region," he added.

"The Zionists are displeased with the countries around them. They hate the Egyptians, Iraqi and Syrians as well. Why? Because their primary goal is to conquer the land from the River Nile to the Tigris and the Euphrates and that has not happened. Those countries would not allow it,” said Khamenei.

On his official X account, formerly Twitter, Khamenei wrote that the “Zionist regime” is a “cancer” that is “dying.” 

Khamenei’s unleashing against Israel came after Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said on Sunday that “normalizing relations with the Zionist regime is a reactionary and regressive move by any government in the Islamic world.” 

Then, on Monday, Nasrallah spoke in the same spirit during a televised speech and sent his own message to Riyadh.

"The Arab world (Ummah) needs to take responsibility for the Palestinian people. The Arab world must not abandon the Palestinians. The Zionists must hear the roars of the Muslim world regarding the first qibla of Muslims (another name for al-Aqsa),” said Nasrallah.

“Instead, we see more 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," he continued.

In response to these statements, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a video in Hebrew on Tuesday, saying: "Whereas Iran’s terror regime exports destruction and disaster, Israel promotes progress and peace. Just like Iran did not prevent us from achieving the ’Abraham Accord,’  it will not prevent us from further expanding the circle of peace for the benefit of Israeli citizens, the peoples of the region, and all of humanity.” 

Voices in the Arab and Muslim world against a Saudi-Israeli peace deal have intensified over the last two weeks, after the Saudi crown prince told Fox News that peace is “closer than ever.” 

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman noted that a Saudi-Israel peace agreement could be “the biggest historical deal since the end of the Cold War.”

He added that solving “the Palestinian issue is very important” to the Saudis as part of this agreement. 

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas stated during his speech to the UN General Assembly last month, that "those who think that peace can prevail in the Middle East without the Palestinian people enjoying their full legitimate and national rights would be delusional.”

Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.

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