Iran's President Raisi slams normalisation with Israel as 'reactionary'

Iran's President Raisi slams normalisation with Israel as 'reactionary'
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said 'normalising relations with the Zionist regime' is a 'reactionary and regressive move by any government in the Islamic world'.
2 min read
Ebrahim Raisi is the president of Iran [Meghdad Madadi ATPImages/Getty-archive]

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Sunday denounced any attempts by regional countries to normalise relations with its arch-enemy Israel as "reactionary and regressive".

The remarks came amid ongoing US-brokered negotiations between Israel and Saudi Arabia to establish formal ties, with the United States saying on Friday that the two countries are moving towards the outline of a deal.

"Normalising relations with the Zionist regime is a reactionary and regressive move by any government in the Islamic world," Raisi said during an international Islamic conference held in Tehran.

An Israeli delegation is expected in Saudi Arabia on Sunday, days after the first official visit by an Israeli minister to the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia also sent a delegation to the occupied West Bank on Wednesday for the first time in three decades in a bid to reassure the Palestinians ahead of the prospective deal.

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Raisi on Sunday further labelled any normalisation attempt as the "foreigners' desire", while stating that "surrender and compromise" regarding Israel were not on the table.

"The only option for all the fighters in the occupied land and the Islamic world is to resist and stand against the enemies," he said, reiterating Iran's position that Jerusalem must be "liberated".

In 1967, Israel occupied and then annexed East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians wish to make the capital of their future independent state.

The vast majority of states reject Israeli claims of sovereignty over East Jerusalem.

An agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia would follow the US-brokered Abraham Accords which saw Israel normalise relations in 2020 with three Arab countries, including the UAE.

Normalisation is highly controversial across the Middle East and Palestinians view it as a betrayal of their national cause.

Last month, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, Raisi said any "relationships between regional countries and the Zionist regime would be a stab in the back of the Palestinians".

Shia-dominated Iran and Sunni-majority Saudi Arabia, two regional powerhouses, resumed relations, severed since 2016, under a China-brokered deal announced in March.