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Normalization with Israel will bring nothing but exploitation for Arab governments: Leader

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei speaks during a gathering of Hajj officials in Tehran, June 8, 2022. (Photo by

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says the Arab governments that chose to normalize relations with Israel against the will of their people will end up being exploited by the occupying regime.

“The Arab and non-Arab governments that moved toward normalizing their relations with the Zionist regime, against the will of their nations and for the will of the United States, must know that these interactions will bring them nothing but exploitation at the hands of the Zionist regime,” the Leader said on Wednesday.

Ayatollah Khamenei made the remarks while addressing a gathering of Iranian officials in charge of organizing Hajj, the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca.

The Leader said the Zionists are an immediate and obvious plague for the Muslim world.

“Exposing the Zionists' plots and conspiracies is one of the essential duties in Hajj,” the Leader said.

Four Arab countries normalized their relations with Israel in 2020 under agreements pushed by former US president Donald Trump. The Arab countries, namely the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco, sparked widespread condemnations throughout the Muslim world, especially in Palestine.

Elsewhere in his address, the Leader hailed the resumption of Hajj pilgrimage after a two-year hiatus as a major blessing, saying the annual ritual is a symbol of unity among Muslims.

Efforts should be made so that the Islamic unity is not disrupted, Ayatollah Khamenei said, warning that sowing sectarian strife has long been a scheme used by the British.

‘Riyadh must prevent recurrence of Hajj tragedies’

The Leader also underlined the heavy responsibilities of Saudi Arabia as the country that hosts Hajj, saying Riyadh needs to act in accordance with the Muslim world’s interests.

“Ensuring the security of all pilgrims, especially Iranian pilgrims, and preventing the recurrence of past tragedies, as well as reconsidering the rise in costs, are among serious demands of the Islamic Republic,” the Leader added.

Thousands of pilgrims lost their lives in a deadly crush back in September 2015 after Saudi authorities blocked a road in Mina during the Hajj ritual, forcing large crowds of pilgrims to collide.

It marked one of the deadliest incidents in the history of Hajj. Saudi Arabia reported two days after the incident that nearly 770 people were killed, but it never updated the figure, while other estimates said thousands had lost their lives.

The largest number of victims was from Iran, followed by Mali and Nigeria. The Mina disaster inflamed tensions between Tehran and Riyadh and was one of the reasons that led to the severance of their diplomatic relations months later.

At the time, Ayatollah Khamenei said the Muslim world has "many questions in this regard, and Saudi rulers … must accept their responsibility in this grave incident by apologizing to the Muslim Ummah and bereft families.”

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