Iran’s newly re-elected President Hassan Rouhani took a swipe at the U.S. and its ally, Saudi Arabia, today(May 22nd). Rouhani was responding to Presidents Trumps speech to fifty Arab-nations in Saudi Arabia on Sunday where he called for “further isolation of Iran.”
Rouhani said, “The Americans do not know our region, that’s what the catch is,” he continued; “Unfortunately, Americans have always made mistakes in our region,” and that “When they(America) attacked Afghanistan (and) Iraq, when they made sanctions against Iran. In Syria, they made mistakes, and also in Yemen.”
Rouhani also defended Iran’s ballistic missile program, which has been the subject of heavy criticism by the Trump administration saying “The U.S. leaders should know that whenever we need a missile test because of a technical aspect, we will test,” he further said that “We will not wait for them and their permission.” and that “Our missiles are for peace, not for attack.” The Trump administration back in February sanctioned more than two dozen people and companies in retaliation for a ballistic missile test, warning that it had put the Islamic Republic “on notice.”
Rouhani also criticized Saudi Arabia, Tehran’s main regional rival saying he “has never seen a ballot box,” a pointed dig in the wake of Iran’s presidential election. He also said that the Saudi summit that Trump attended on Sunday was a “show-off” and that it “will not have any political and practical values.”
We should note that the Sunni kingdom and Shiite power Iran haven’t had diplomatic relations since early 2016. The loss of relations started when Saudi Arabia executed a prominent Shiite cleric and protesters from Iran that attacked two of the kingdom’s diplomatic posts. Saudi Arabia immediately then cut diplomatic ties along with other Sunni Arab countries in the Gulf.
This comes as Rouhani won another four-year term this past Friday (See Article: Iran Extends Voting Hours in Historical Presidential Election ) in a vote that many saw as a referendum for international outreach that led to the nuclear deal and a vote of confidence that his government will be able to help the country’s sputtering economy.
President Trump has threatened to try to renegotiate the deal, which saw Iran accept curbs on its contested nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of some international economic sanctions.
In a joint news conference today (May 22nd) with Israeli Benjamin Netanyahu, President Trump said: “Iran must never be allowed to possess a nuclear weapon.”
Sources: Associated Press; DW News\Germany
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