Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called Wednesday on the people of Muslim countries to defeat Israel. “With an intense and planned struggle, they should force the enemy to retreat toward the point of demise,” he said.
Any move to negotiate with Israel would be an “unforgivable mistake”, the cleric added. His words come in response to Saudi Arabia’s crown prince saying Israelis were entitled to live peacefully on their own land.
Supreme Leader Khamenei later tweeted, “On days when escalation of oppression & barbarism by the Zionists, in Gaza has saddened and angered those who care for Palestine, we reiterate the perpetual stance of the Islamic Republic regarding the issue of Palestine.
“The return of dignity and power to the Islamic nation is exclusively linked to resistance—while confronting arrogant powers and their wicked plots—and the issue of Palestine is at the top of Islam’s international agenda in the face of the arrogant front.”
TIME Magazine asked the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman earlier in the week, “How much do Saudi Arabia’s interests align with Israel’s interests? Would there be room for Israel in your development plan?”
The Crown Prince replied, “Well, it seems that we have a common enemy, and it seems that we have a lot of potential areas to have economic cooperation. And we cannot have a relation with Israel before solving the peace issue, the Palestinians, because both of them they have the right to live and coexist. And since that day happen, we will watch. We will try to support a peace solution. And when it happens, of course next day we’ll have good and normal relations with Israel and it will be the best for everyone.”
Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam and site of its holiest shrines, does not officially recognize Israel, but Mohammed bin Salman’s comments, quoted in the US magazine The Atlantic, are a further sign of an apparent thawing in bilateral ties.
In an interview with the Atlantic, also this week, the Crown Prince said that Ayatollah Khamenei “makes Hitler look good”.
Goldberg: You speak extraordinarily bluntly about Iran and its ideology. You’ve even equated the supreme leader to Hitler. What makes him a Hitler? Hitler is the worst thing you can be.
Mohammed bin Salman: I believe that the Iranian supreme leader makes Hitler look good.
Mohammed bin Salman: Hitler didn’t do what the supreme leader is trying to do. Hitler tried to conquer Europe. This is bad.
Goldberg: Yes, very bad.
Mohammed bin Salman: But the supreme leader is trying to conquer the world. He believes he owns the world. They are both evil guys. He is the Hitler of the Middle East. In the 1920s and 1930s, no one saw Hitler as a danger. Only a few people. Until it happened. We don’t want to see what happened in Europe happen in the Middle East. We want to stop this through political moves, economic moves, intelligence moves. We want to avoid war.