ANKARA - The president of Shi'ite Muslim Iran criticized US Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump on Wednesday for urging a ban on Muslims entering the United States "on the pretext of countering terrorism", suggesting the call was hypocritical.
Trump raised an outcry at home and abroad when, citing a deadly California shooting rampage last week by two Muslims who police said had been radicalized, he called for Muslims including would-be immigrants, students, tourists and other visitors to be barred from entering the country.
Rouhani, a pragmatist who has presided over a cautious thaw in relations between the Islamic Republic and the West that has encompassed a deal on Iran's nuclear program, took aim at Trump, without mentioning his name, during a cabinet meeting.
"Under the pretext of fighting terrorism, some people are proposing that Muslims should not be permitted to enter other countries. We regret such remarks about Muslims," he said in comments carried by Iranian state television.
"This is while they themselves are among the sponsors and supporters of terrorism ... and they are supporting terrorists."
Iran and the United States are at odds over conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, where they often back opposing sides.