Israel 'biggest enemy' of Muslim and Arab world: Iran national security chief
The head of Iran’s national security council has warned that Israel remains the “biggest enemy” of the Muslim and Arab world, reiterating that Tehran seeks cooperation with neighbors to secure regional interests against the regime.
Ali Shamkhani, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), tweeted on Saturday that, "We must not forget that the Zionist regime is the biggest enemy of the Islamic world and the Arab world."
Shamkhani also referred to the direct talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran, saying Tehran’s “active participation” in the Iraq-hosted negotiations “stems from the Islamic Republic's principled strategy of cooperation with its neighbors based on securing bilateral and regional interests.”
The remarks came after bin Salman described Israel as a "potential ally" with shared interests, not an enemy - but that it must solve its conflict with the Palestinians first.
"We don't look at Israel as an enemy," he said during an interview with The Atlantic, the full text of which was published by the Saudi state news agency, SPA, on Thursday.
"We look to them as a potential ally, with many interests that we can pursue together. But we have to solve some issues before we get to that.”
Asked about Riyadh’s ties with Tehran, the Saudi heir to the throne said the kingdom intends to continue "detailed talks" with Iran to reach a satisfactory agreement for both.
The talks, he added, would enable reaching "a good situation and mark a bright future" for both sides.
"Iran is a neighbor forever. We cannot get rid of them and they cannot get rid of us," bin Salman noted.
Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic relations with Iran in January 2016 after Iranian protesters, enraged by the Saudi execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, stormed its embassy in Tehran.
For years, the kingdom pursued a confrontational foreign policy toward the Islamic Republic, but it appears that it has recently changed tack.
The two Middle East heavyweights have held four rounds of talks in Iraq since last April, including a meeting in December under the administration of President Ebrahim Raeisi, who assumed office in mid-2021.