Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Benjamin Netanyahu (R)
Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Benjamin Netanyahu (R)Reuters, Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Saudi Arabia's leadership is not counting on an improvement in the country's relations with Iran, and estimates that Tehran will violate the agreement between them at the first opportunity, senior officials in Riyadh told Israel Hayom.

According to the officials, the view that the tightening of relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran has put a stopper on the possibility of future progress towards normalization with Israel, is not true.

Saudi sources said that Riyadh still sees Iran as an enemy, and the agreement with it will not change the foundations of that relationship.

"We have no doubts regarding the Iranians," they said. "It is hard to believe that the agreement will hold water. We need to see it as it is, without far-reaching analyses. Iran has not turned into an innocent sheep or the twin sister of Saudi Arabia. The regime in Tehran is still hostile towards Saudi Arabia, it aspires to take over Mecca and Medina, and to impose Shiite hegemony in the Gulf and in the Middle East."

The main goal which stood behind Saudi Arabia's signing of the agreement with Iran, they said, was to come closer to China, which mediated between the sides and provided support for the process. China is one of Saudi Arabia's largest oil consumers, and Saudi Arabia imports from China on a large scale, and thus Riyadh decided "to make gesture of goodwill" towards Beijing.

According to the officials, the agreement was born when China offered to mediate between the two countries, which are considered two of the world's two major oil exporters. Saudi Arabia agreed to the Chinese offer, even though it included a few conditions which Riyadh considered problematic, in order to prove to the Chinese that Saudi Arabia is willing to compromise even when the price is high. Among other things, it required a renewal of the relations with Syria, a process which Saudi citizens do not support.

The invitation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to the Arab League conference in Jeda, Saudi Arabia, was something that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was forced to swallow because of the agreement with Iran. In order to soften this, bin Salman signaled to the West that his country is still an ally by inviting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to speak at the conference.

Saudi Arabia is aware of the concerns raised in Israel in light of the agreement.

In recent months, the Saudis have publicly stated that the question of normalization with Israel remains as it had been previously: Israel must work to solve the conflict with the "Palestinians" before full normalization can be reached with Saudi Arabia.