Iran’s Raisi blames ‘lack of unity’ among Muslim countries for Israeli war on Hamas

The Iranian president suggests a more unified Muslim front could have prevented Israel’s strikes in Gaza after Hamas’s October 7 massacre on Israeli soil

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi speaks during an anti-Israel rally at Enqelab-e-Eslami (Islamic Revolution) Sq. in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi speaks during an anti-Israel rally at Enqelab-e-Eslami (Islamic Revolution) Sq. in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s president on Tuesday expressed regret at a “lack of unity” among Muslim countries in response to the war between its arch-foe Israel and Gaza’s rulers Hamas.

Ebrahim Raisi said greater coordination across the Muslim world could have stopped Israel’s ongoing bombing of the Gaza Strip, which followed Hamas terrorists’ brutal attacks that killed some 1,400 people in Israeli territory, most of them civilians.

“A united and unified position in the Muslim world could have prevented the oppression and aggression of the Zionist regime and the excesses of its Western supporters in a more effective way,” he said, quoted by state news agency IRNA.

Raisi also called for “strengthening cooperation” between countries in the region to avoid interventions from outside nations.

He made the remarks while receiving the credentials of the new Saudi ambassador to Tehran, Abdullah bin Saud al-Anazi.

Iran and Saudi Arabia broke off diplomatic ties seven years ago, amid an escalating geopolitical rivalry, but in March, they signed a China-brokered deal to restore relations.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, left, and his Saudi counterpart Faisal bin Farhan hold a joint press conference in Riyadh on August 17, 2023. (Fayez Nureldine/AFP)

“The presence of foreigners in the region not only does not solve any issues but is itself a factor in exacerbating the problems,” Raisi added without naming any specific countries.

Iran frequently criticizes the role of the United States, which has boosted its military presence in the Middle East since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas.

The Iranian president had already called on October 12 for Muslim and Arab countries to join together to “stop the crimes” of Israel.

The ongoing war between Israel and the Gaza terror group was triggered on October 7 when some 2,500 Hamas terrorists poured into Israel and ravaged Israeli military bases and communities. Some 1,400 people were killed, most of them civilians, and at least 224 people were taken hostage, with 220 of them still held inside Gaza.

Israel launched Operation Swords of Iron following the massacre, vowing to eradicate Hamas and destroy the terror group’s infrastructure inside the Strip.

According to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry, over 5,700 people have been killed by Israeli strikes. However, this number cannot be independently verified, and it is believed to include slain terror operatives as well as civilians killed by misfired Palestinian rockets.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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