Iran’s president is warning Saudi Arabia against making peace with Israel. 

The warning comes as leaders of both countries claim they’re making progress towards a historic deal.

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman says an agreement is “coming closer every day”.

And at a meeting with US president Joe Biden in New York, Israel’s prime minister said a peace deal can be forged with the right American backing.

But at a news conference also in New York on the fringes of the UN General Assembly, Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi told Sky News such a deal would be a “stab in the back of the Palestinian people and their resistance”.

The pace of diplomacy is quickening in the region. A Chinese brokered deal has led to détente between Iran and its arch foes in Saudi Arabia.

Raisi said he hoped that relationship can be expanded further. But he intimated it could be jeopardised if Saudis improve relations with Israel.

More on Iran

“Under no circumstances are the regional countries willing for the Islamic countries to abandon the sacred principle of the plight of the Palestinian people because the liberation of the holy city of Jerusalem is at the core of the belief of all Muslims.”

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Relations have been normalised between Israel and countries in the gulf, namely the UAE, and Bahrain, under the so called Abraham Accords.

Saudi Arabia though has a special role in the Islamic world as custodian of the holy mosques in Mecca and Medina.

To make peace with Israel while it still occupies the site of Islam’s third most holy shrine, the al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem would be problematic for Saudis.

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Foreign secretary James Cleverly speaks to Sky News.

But indications suggest that moment is coming closer.

Iran has cautioned against such a diplomatic development in the past but this was its most strident warning yet about any further Saudi rapprochement with Israel.

There are renewed fears too of nuclear proliferation. In the same interview Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader said his kingdom would need to acquire nuclear weapons if Iran does.

Western intelligence agencies believe the Iranians are coming closer and closer to doing so.

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