Iran’s president will attend an emergency summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh on Sunday, in another sign of the rapprochement between the two rival Gulf states amid renewed conflict between Israel and the Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza.
Iranian regime media outlets reported on Friday that President Ebrahim Raisi will fly to Saudi Arabia for Sunday’s meeting, which will address “ways to stop Israel’s savage war machine against Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip,” according to Iran’s official English language broadcaster Press TV.
Raisi’s announcement of his trip to Riyadh came as the regime’s “supreme leader,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, launched another attack on US support for Israel in its military response to the Oct. 7 Hamas pogrom in which more than 1,400 people were murdered and more than 200 seized as hostages. Iran is the main international sponsor of Hamas.
“Since the very first days of the Zionist regime’s attacks, all the evidence and indications show the direct involvement of the Americans in running the war,” Khamenei declared on Friday.
The OIC summit will include Arab states that signed historic peace deals with Israel in 2020, among them the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. While Saudi Arabia still resists diplomatic relations with Israel, rumors of a peace deal brokered by the US administration were widespread in the weeks prior to the Hamas onslaught, with some observers arguing that derailing the rapprochement between Jerusalem and Riyadh by sparking a new war was a key reason behind the Oct. 7 atrocities.
Additionally, Arab Gulf states are “very worried that they’re going to be targeted by Iranian proxy groups who are seeking retaliation against Israel and the United States,” Elham Fakhro of the London-based Chatham House think tank told a panel discussion at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, DC, on Thursday.
One Saudi political analyst predicted that Sunday’s OIC meeting would demonstrate the support for the Palestinians beyond the Arab world, drawing in Muslim states in Africa and Asia.
“Non-Western countries are not accepting this any longer and not buying the American narrative, the Western narrative of the conflict,” Aziz Alghashian told broadcaster France 24.