Netanyahu’s Office Denies Palestinian, Iranian Reports of Secret Phone Conversation With Saudi Defense Minister to ‘Stir Insecurity’ in Islamic Republic
A spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told The Algemeiner on Monday that Palestinian and Iranian reports of a recent phone conversation between the Israeli leader and the Saudi defense minister were untrue.
David Keyes was referring to an item in the Palestinian Authority daily Al-Manar, which was picked up by Iran’s semi-official state news agency Fars, according to which Netanyahu and Mohammad bin Salman spoke last Thursday about “relations between Riyadh and Tel Aviv, the situation in Syria and Lebanon, security coordination between the two sides and Riyadh’s purchase of weapons from Tel Aviv to continue support for the terrorist groups in Syria and attacks against Yemen.”
In addition, Fars reported on Tuesday that the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) accused the two countries of being in cahoots to foment unrest in Iran.
“Saudi Arabia, the Zionists and the world arrogant powers are spending huge amounts of money to stir insecurity in our country and we have intel indicating that Saudi Arabia is collaborating with the Zionists to this end,” Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari claimed at a political forum.
As The Algemeiner reported in July, Amos Yadlin, the director of Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies and a former IDF intelligence chief, said that cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Israel was taking place under the radar, and that both countries viewed Iran as a threat.
This assertion came about two months after an Israeli delegation – headed by then-Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon — allegedly visited Saudi Arabia to meet with officials in Riyadh.
Though, according to the unconfirmed report, this was not the first time such a visit took place, the IDF Censor prohibits discussion of such meetings for security reasons. The Saudi royal family, too, according to Al-Manar, has preferred to keep such talks confidential, though it is no secret that both Israel and Saudi Arabia are concerned about growing Iranian influence in the region, and both opposed the July 2015 nuclear deal between the Islamic Republic and world powers.
In December, then-Israeli Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold — who resigned his post last week to resume heading the think tank the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs — gave what the Jerusalem Post called an “unprecedented” interview to Saudi news outlet Elaph in which he stressed the two countries’ common interests, among them standing up to Iran and the “joint threat of ISIS.”
Accusations on the part of Iranian officials against Israel and the United States for allegedly backing terrorist groups in the Middle East have not decreased since the signing of the nuclear deal. In addition, as The Algemeiner reported last month, during a military parade in Tehran, a banner on the side of a truck carrying a new long-range ballistic missile — the Zolfaqar — read: “If the leaders of the Zionist regime make a mistake then the Islamic Republic will turn Tel Aviv and Haifa into dust.”