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Iran's Khamenei criticises Arab-Israel normalisation bids

By AFP

May 1, 2024 07:16 PM


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Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Wednesday efforts underway to forge a normalisation of ties between Israel and Arab countries will not resolve the crisis in the Middle East.

"Some people think that by forcing neighbouring countries to normalise their ties (with Israel) the problem will be solved," said Khamenei.

"They are wrong."

Khamenei's remarks came after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday said Washington is nearly ready with a security package to offer Saudi Arabia if it normalises relations with Israel.

Saudi Arabia had been in talks over a potential normalisation with Israel but they were paused when the Gaza war broke out.

It erupted after Hamas's October 7 attack on southern Israel which resulted in the deaths of 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

Israel's retaliatory offensive has killed at least 34,568 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory.

Regional tensions have soared since the start of the Israel-Hamas war, drawing in Iran-backed militant groups in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen.

The Islamic republic backs Hamas, but has denied any direct involvement in the group's attack on arch-foe Israel.

Iran does not recognise Israel and has made support for the Palestinian cause a centrepiece of its foreign policy since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

"Palestine should be returned to them (Palestinians)," said Khamenei.

"They should form their own regime, their own system, then that system should decide how to deal with the Zionists."


AFP


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