Simultaneous US and UK sanctions on Iran Simultaneous US and UK sanctions on Iran

Saudi Arabia has reportedly shelved US-backed plans to normalize relations with Israel and is rapidly reviewing its foreign policy priorities. Meanwhile, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held his first phone call with Iranian President Ibrahim Reisi as Riyadh seeks to prevent further violence in the region.

Two sources told Reuters that there would be a delay in US-backed normalization talks with Israel.

In the run-up to the clashes that erupted into war on October 7, Saudi Arabia had said it would not allow the pursuit of a US defense deal to be derailed, even if Israel did not make significant concessions to the Palestinians towards statehood.

A source close to Riyadh told Reuters that the talks could not be resumed for now and that Israeli concessions to the Palestinians should be a higher priority when talks resume. The source told Reuters that Washington pressed Riyadh this week to condemn the Hamas attack, but Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan refused. A US source familiar with the matter confirmed this.

At a White House briefing this week, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said normalization efforts were "not suspended" but were focused on other pressing issues.

Saudi Prince holds first meeting with Iran
Meanwhile, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had his first phone call with Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi since the start of the war.

In a statement released by Saudi Arabia, the crown prince told Raisi that "the kingdom is making "maximum efforts to engage with all international and regional parties to stop the ongoing escalation" and underlined Riyadh's move to contain the crisis.

A senior Iranian official told Reuters that Raisi's appeal to the crown prince was aimed at "supporting Palestine and preventing the spread of war in the region." "The meeting was good and promising," the official said. A second Iranian official said the call lasted 45 minutes and had the approval of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The Saudi government did not provide further details of the phone call, but said in a statement that the crown prince expressed the kingdom's "opposition to any targeting of civilians and the loss of innocent lives" and Riyadh's "unwavering stance in support of the Palestinian cause."

Washington: We are in constant contact with the Saudis
Asked about Raisi's phone call with the crown prince, a senior US State Department official said Washington was "in constant contact with Saudi leaders." US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has spoken several times by phone with his Saudi counterpart.