Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi insisted that his nation "is a pillar of stability in the Persian Gulf," speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City Monday.

Israel, he countered, "is the major player impeding the establishment of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East."

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Salehi added that the White House is leading a group of nations which has "Iranophobia" and warned Washington "against a deeper involvement in the region."