New rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran: they discussed possible military cooperation in the face of tension in the Persian Gulf

The Minister of Defense of Saudi Arabia, Khaled bin Salmán (REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan/File Photo) (JAMES LAWLER DUGGAN/)

The Minister of Defense of Saudi Arabia, Khaled bin Salmanand the chief of the General Staff of the Iranian Army, Mohamed Bagheriheld an unusual telephone conversation this Thursday in which they discussed military cooperation between both countries, which normalized their relations last March.

During the call, both officials “reviewed the bilateral relations between both countries in the military and defense sphere and They discussed a series of topics of common interest”, according to the official Saudi news agency SPA, which did not provide further details of the conversation.

This would be the first time that a conversation between the Saudi Defense Minister and the head of the Iranian Army has been made public, and it occurs in the midst of the war in the Gaza Strip and in the face of an increase in tension in the Persian Gulf due to the increase in attacks and threats by extremist groups backed by the Tehran regime.

Shortly before, Khaled bin Salman met with the UN special envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundbergin which they discussed Saudi Arabia’s efforts to reach a “comprehensive political solution” to end the war in that country.

Precisely, the Yemen’s Houthi rebels – allies of Iran – have claimed responsibility for a series of drone and missile attacks against Israel in support of the Hamas terrorist group, while they have also hijacked a cargo ship transiting the Red Sea claiming it was Israeli property.

Iran and Saudi Arabia, rival countries that lead Shia and Sunni Islam in the Middle Eastagreed in March with Chinese mediation to normalize their diplomatic relations, broken since 2016, and have since reopened their respective embassies.

Mohamed Bagheri (Iranian Army/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Handout via REUTERS)
Mohamed Bagheri (Iranian Army/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Handout via REUTERS) (WANA NEWS AGENCY/)

Both countries have harshly condemned the Israeli response to the Hamas attacks of October 7, and while Saudi Arabia has opted for dialogue, the Iranian regime has called for arming the Palestinians and imposing an economic and energy boycott on Israel.

Tehran welcomed the Hamas terrorist attack and has since repeatedly warned of the possibility that its allies will open other fronts if the bombing of Gaza does not stop.

At the beginning of the month, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohamed bin Salmanreceived the Iranian president, Ebrahim Raisiin Riyadh, where an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Gaza was held.

Bin Salman and Raisi shook hands and exchanged a few words before the start of the OIC meeting, according to Saudi television.

It was the first visit to Saudi Arabia by an Iranian leader in 11 years.

Shiite-majority Iran and Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia had severed ties after protesters invaded Saudi diplomatic headquarters in that country. Saudi Arabia had executed prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr along with 46 other people days earlier, triggering the protests.

That occurred as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, then deputy, began his rise to power. Prince Mohammed, son of King Salman, had already compared Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to Nazi Adolf Hitler, and had threatened to attack Iran.

(With information from EFE)