December 11, 2023

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Saudi-Israel Ties Without Considering Palestine Doomed To Fail: Iran Envoy

NDTV Exclusive: Iran Envoy Says Saudi-Israel Ties Without Considering Palestine Doomed To Fail

Dr Iraj Ilahi, Iranian Ambassador to India, spoke exclusively to NDTV

New Delhi: As the Israel-Gaza war splits the world down the middle, with most nations taking a stand for or against Israel and the Arab nations standing with Palestine, the role of Iran is being watched closely.

Dr Iraj Ilahi, Iranian Ambassador to India, told NDTV in an exclusive interview that Tehran does not see Hamas’s “resistance act” as terrorism.

“First of all, we do not interpret the resistance act of Hamas as terrorism. Hamas is a Resistance organization as well. So it is important to use the right discourse in this case,” he said.

“Secondly, the independent capability of Hamas is an undeniable reality that mainstream media attempts to ignore. It is true that Iran always supports the axis of resistance, but this fact must not mislead us into underestimating the decisive power and agency of other actors,” he added.

Iran’s top authority Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has denied Tehran’s role in Hamas’ attacks on Israel last weekend that has triggered a brutal counterstrike. The Iran leader has, however, praised Hamas for the attacks, saying “we kiss the hands of those who planned the attack on the Zionist regime”.

Responding to a question on US and other Western nations accusing Iran of a role in the Hamas attacks, Dr Ilahi said, “The Zionist regime propagates these false allegations to hide three facts. Firstly, they try to attribute it to external factors to conceal the main cause of the conflict, which is ceaseless and ruthless crimes against Palestinians. Zionist extremism is the main source of violence and instability, not only in the occupied lands but also across the region, and they may expand the conflict into their neighbourhood due to their inhumane ideology and a wrong assessment of the realities.”

“Secondly, Israel attempts to deny the significant strength of Hamas, which independently stands against apartheid and occupation,” he said.

Dr Ilahi also added that the US and its allies are “deeply concerned about the emergence of new conflict fronts”.

As part of its retaliation to the horrifying attack, Israel has announced a siege of Gaza, effectively cutting off electricity, water and food supplies.

Amid global concerns over what comes next, the Iran envoy said, “Since the beginning of the year, the number of casualties have increased in an unprecedented way. Presently, they have cut the supply of water, electricity, medicine to Gaza and they have warned more than 1.2 million Palestinians to leave their home and move towards south Gaza. One cannot find the proper words to describe the ongoing human catastrophe in Gaza.”

“The Israeli regime plans to evacuate Gaza of Palestinians. To proceed with their grand project of genocide in Gaza, Zionists need to normalise and naturalise their bestial and criminal acts. Therefore, it’s not surprising at all that they promote such a big lie in order to deceive the global community to support them in their inhuman and unbelievable atrocities,” the ambassador said.

Iran President Ebrahim Raisi has spoken to Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the crisis – this was the first phone call between the two leaders since Tehran and Riyadh restored ties following several years of hostility.

According to reports, the war in Gaza has also forced Saudi Arabia to put on hold its plans for normalisation of diplomatic ties with Israel. The normalisation move was being mediated by the US.

In strong remarks, Saudi Arabia has slammed the displacement of Palestinians within Gaza and attacks on “defenceless civilians”.

The Iranian Ambassador said that any such normalisation move “without considering the Palestine cause was doomed to fail sooner or later”. “Even if we suppose such a normalisation could happen before, it would not be a sustainable and durable deal,” he added.

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