Iranian president, Saudi crown prince discuss Israel-Hamas war

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Wednesday talked with Saudi Crown Prince over the phone for the first time since a deadly war broke out between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

Mohammad Jamshidi, the deputy chief of staff for political affairs for Iran’s Raisi, said the two leaders “agreed on the need to end war crimes against Palestine” during a 45-minute call.

“Islamic unity was stressed & both believed the regime’s crimes & the US green light will cause destructive insecurity for the regime & backers,” Jamshidi wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

State-run news outlet Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported the crown prince expressed concern that Palestinian rights were being violated.

Crown Prince Mohammed also said an extensive Israeli response to a Hamas attack last weekend could escalate tensions in the region, according to IRNA.

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry also said the crown prince stressed his country was attempting to halt any escalation in hostilities through a broad international dialogue with world leaders. And he emphasized his nation’s “unwavering stance” for Palestinian rights, according to the Foreign Ministry.

Iran has faced renewed scrutiny after the Hamas attacks on Israel, which killed more than 1,200 Israeli people, including women and children.

Iranian forces have long funded and supported Hamas, the militant and political group that has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007, and Tehran has called the deadly attack last weekend a victory for Palestine.

Raisi on Thursday personally congratulated the Palestinian resistance movement and called Israel’s ongoing airstrikes on Gaza war crimes, IRNA reported.

Experts assess that part of Iran’s overall strategy is to chip away at Israel’s security and damage it over time through proxy groups such as Hamas.

Another goal is to cripple its standing in the Middle East, where Israel was working to normalize relations with Saudi Arabia. Riyadh has never had diplomatic relations with Israel, a state created in 1948.

Crown Prince Mohammed, however, has been working with the U.S., a mutual ally with Israel, in recent months to reach a normalization deal.

Iran has warned against any normalized ties with Israel, and the Hamas attack may prevent such a deal from being reached anytime soon.

The U.S. has said Iran is “broadly complicit” for the Hamas attack. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has spoken at least twice in the past week with Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, and both have agreed to remain in touch as the conflict develops.

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