Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is expected to participate in a summit in the Saudi capital on Sunday, to discuss the Israel-Hamas conflict, according to a source with knowledge of the event’s preparations, as reported by AFP on Monday.
It would be Raisi’s first visit to the Kingdom since the two countries agreed to restore diplomatic relations after seven years of severed ties, a deal brokered by China and announced in March.
The summit is being organized by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), a 57-member bloc of majority Muslim countries based in the Saudi coastal city of Jeddah.
It is planned to take place one day after an emergency meeting of Arab League leaders on the war, also in the Saudi capital Riyadh.
“President Raisi will attend the summit of the OIC in Riyadh,” the source familiar with planning for the summit told AFP on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to discuss the plans with the media.
The OIC has repeatedly spoken out against attacks on civilians in Gaza, where Israel is trying to eliminate Hamas in response to the militant group’s October 7 attack, which Israeli officials say left more than 1,400 people dead, mostly civilians, and saw 240 taken hostage.
The death toll in Gaza has surpassed 10,000 people, including more than 4,000 children, the Gaza health ministry said Monday after nearly one month of relentless Israeli bombardment.
Raisi and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held their first phone call on October 12 in which both men voiced support for the Palestinian cause.
Neither country recognizes Israel.
Iran has long provided financial and military support for Hamas.