Iran’s Khamenei urges reversing ‘sin’ of Arab-Israeli normalizations

Supreme leader says some governments have made ‘errors’ by forming ties with Jewish state, fracturing Islamic unity

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks in Tehran, Iran, July 28, 2021. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks in Tehran, Iran, July 28, 2021. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

Arab nations that normalized ties with Israel last year have “sinned” and should reverse the moves, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said on Sunday.

The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco all agreed to normalize ties with Israel in 2020, as Washington under the administration of then-US president Donald Trump made Arab-Israeli rapprochement a foreign policy priority.

“Some governments have unfortunately made errors — have made big errors and have sinned in normalizing (their relations) with the usurping and oppressive Zionist regime,” Khamenei said, referring to Israel.

“It is an act against Islamic unity. They must return from this path and make up for this big mistake,” Khamenei added, in a speech marking a public holiday honoring the birth of the Prophet Mohammed.

Iran has in the four decades since the 1979 Islamic revolution positioned itself as a strong defender of the Palestinian cause and regularly threatens to annihilate the Jewish state.

Egypt and Jordan were until last year the only two Arab countries to maintain normalized relations with Israel.

“If the unity of Muslims is achieved, the Palestinian question would definitely be resolved in the best fashion,” Khamenei said.

In May, Khamenei characterized Israel as a “terrorist base” and “not a country.”

Shortly after Khamenei’s speech, Iran’s top security official, Ali Shamkhani, vowed to inflict many “billions of dollars” worth of damage in a “shocking response” if Israel strikes Tehran’s nuclear program.

The tweet by the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council came in response to Israeli media reports that NIS 5 billion ($1.5 billion) had been approved to prepare the military for a potential strike on Iran’s nuclear program.

Iran has repeatedly accused Israel of being behind acts of sabotage targeting its nuclear facilities.

The two countries have exchanged sharp rhetoric recently, against the backdrop of efforts to renew talks to revive a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.

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