Saudi Arabia Pauses Normalization Talks With Israel, Focuses On Making Deal With Iran After Hamas Attack: Report
Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei attends the graduation ceremony of Iranian Armed Forces cadets at Imam Ali Officers' Academy in Tehran, Iran on October 10, 2023/Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman attends a session on 'Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment' as part of the G20 summit in New Delhi on September 9, 2023
Iranian Supreme Leader Press Office/Anadolu via Getty Images/EVELYN HOCKSTEIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Saudi Arabia, which was engaging in months-long talks with Israel on normalizing relations, has reportedly paused discussions and shifted its focus to making a deal with Iran. 

Reuters reported that two sources familiar with the matter said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman spoke with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in an attempt to prevent further escalation in the region. Iran told the Saudi leader that Saudi Arabia would need to prioritize concessions for Palestinians for talks to continue between the two countries, according to one source. 

A senior Iranian official said the call with Saudi Arabia, which lasted 45 minutes, was “good and promising,” adding that its goal was to support “Palestine and prevent the spread of war in the region.” The call reportedly was approved by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iran-backed Hamas launched a brutal attack on Israel last Saturday, killing over 1,300 people and targeting Israeli families, including infants. The Hamas attack came weeks after President Joe Biden announced that the U.S. would unfreeze $6 billion for Iran along with Iranian prisoners in exchange for Americans held captive by the Iranian regime. 

Tension in the region between the Arab world and Israel has boiled over under the watch of the Biden administration after former President Donald Trump oversaw the Abraham Accords, which normalized ties between Israel and the Gulf states of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. The Biden administration had hoped to build on the Abraham Accords with other Arab countries in the region, including Saudi Arabia, Reuters reported. Bin Salman told Fox News in an interview last month that his country and Israel were getting closer to normalization “every day,” but stressed that any deal would “need to ease the life of the Palestinians.” 

Some experts said the attack by Hamas came in response to normalization talks between Israel and Saudi Arabia. A Hamas official said that the terrorist organization received support from Iran for the attack, and the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post confirmed that report with multiple officials, providing more details.

The Wall Street Journal reported that officers of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps had been working with Hamas and other Islamic terrorists in planning the attacks, which included firing thousands of rockets and invading Israel by land, sea, and air.

“Details of the operation were refined during several meetings in Beirut attended by IRGC officers and representatives of four Iran-backed militant groups, including Hamas, which holds power in Gaza, and Hezbollah, a Shiite militant group and political faction in Lebanon, they said,” the WSJ report stated.


The Biden administration said that Iran was complicit in the attack on Israel but added that it did not have “specific evidence” of Iran being involved in the attack. “Iran has long supported Hamas and other terrorist networks throughout the region with resources, capabilities training,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said. “And so in that regard, clearly, Iran is complicit here. But in terms of specific evidence on this, on these sets of attacks — no, we don’t have anything.”

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