The de facto leader of Saudi Arabia and the President of Iran conversed by phone to discuss the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, as reported by Saudi state media early Thursday. This marks their first conversation since their surprise reconciliation in March.
The official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received a call from Iranian leader Ebrahim Raisi on Wednesday. During their conversation, they tackled the present military circumstances in Gaza and its environs.
Prince Mohammed told Raisi that Riyadh is ‘communicating with all international and regional parties to stop the ongoing escalation’, SPA said.
He also stressed ‘the kingdom’s firm position towards supporting the Palestinian cause’, it said.
Iranian state news agency IRNA also reported on the call, saying the two men discussed the ‘need to end war crimes against Palestine’.
On Saturday, Hamas initiated an unexpected attack on Israel, which, according to Israeli authorities, led to the deaths of 1,200 people, with the majority being civilians.
Officials in Gaza have stated that over 1,200 individuals have lost their lives due to Israel’s retaliatory air and artillery strikes.
As the conflict rages on, concerns have intensified over the destiny of at least 150 hostages, primarily Israelis, yet also involving foreign and dual nationals, who are being detained by Hamas in Gaza.
Analysts argue that the war has cast a substantial shadow over the prospects of a historic normalization pact between Saudi Arabia, the guardian of Islam’s most sacred places, and Israel.
The progression of this endeavor has been primarily directed by the U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration, as Riyadh has negotiated vigorously to secure advantages from Washington, which encompass security guarantees and assistance in the development of a civilian nuclear program.
Iran has a history of offering substantial financial and military assistance to Hamas, yet it firmly denies any involvement in the assault that took place on Saturday.
Saudi Arabia and Iran made headlines in March by revealing their mutual decision to restore diplomatic relations, thereby concluding a seven-year rift, all thanks to China’s mediation.
Prince Mohammed also spoke by phone on Wednesday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during which the 38-year-old said he was ‘exerting unremitting efforts through regional and international communication to achieve coordination that pushes for a halt of the current escalation’.
He delivered a similar message in a separate call with French President Emmanuel Macron, saying Riyadh was ‘working to create conditions to bring stability and restore the path of peace to ensure that the Palestinian people would achieve their fair and legitimate rights’, according to a foreign ministry readout published early Thursday on social media.
Prince Mohammed also told Macron the kingdom rejected ‘targeting civilians or disrupting the infrastructure and vital interests that affect their daily lives.’