Iran warns Saudi Arabia over 'reliance' on Israel - Guards' commander

Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Commander-in-Chief Major General Hossein Salami, attends a ceremony marking the anniversary of the death of senior Iranian military commander Mohammad Hejazi, in Tehran, Iran April 14, 2022. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS

DUBAI, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Iran on Thursday said the leaders of regional foe Saudi Arabia should end their reliance on Israel, according to the semi-official Tasnim news agency, in an apparent reference to growing ties between Israel and Gulf Arab states.

"You are relying on an Israel which is collapsing, and this will be the end of your era," Hossein Salami, the top commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, was quoted as saying in what he called a "warning" to the kingdom's ruling Al-Saud family.

Salami's statement contradicts recent comments by a top advisor to Iran's Supreme Leader who called for the reopening of embassies to facilitate rapprochement between Tehran and Riyadh.

"We are neighbours of Saudi Arabia and we must coexist. The embassies of the two countries should reopen in order to solve our problems in a better way," a Ali Akbar Velayati said on Wednesday.

Last year, Tehran and Riyadh began direct talks in an attempt to improve relations, which tanked when diplomatic ties between the two countries were severed in 2016. Baghdad has hosted five rounds of talks so far, the last in April.

Saudi Arabia has signalled its backing for the so-called Abraham Accords under which the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain forged relations with Israel two years ago. But Riyadh has stopped short of formally recognising neighbouring Israel.

Israel has voiced willingness to work militarily with its new Gulf partners, which have been more publicly reticent about such a prospect.

Reporting by Dubai Newsroom, Editing by William Maclean and Bernadette Baum

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