Hassan Rouhani: The U.S., Israel support terrorism in the Middle East

In an extensive interview with American outlet Fox News, Iranian President said that he would not meet US President Donald Trump without trust between them been restored first.

September 25, 2019 07:26
4 minute read.
Hassan Rouhani: The U.S., Israel support terrorism in the Middle East

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a news conference at Salam Palace in Baghdad, Iraq March 11, 2019. (photo credit: THAIER AL-SUDANI/REUTERS)

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that he would not meet US President Donald Trump without trust between them been restored first, in an extensive interview with Fox News which aired Tuesday.

Moreover, he accused Israel and the US of supporting terrorism in the Middle East, stated that Iran was not pursuing a nuclear weapon and denied that Tehran was responsible for the attack against Saudi oil facilities.

Rouhani is currently in New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly. Iran and the stability of the region have been among the most pressing topics discussed by the world leaders who have gathered for the event.

Among others, French President Emmanuel Macron has been pushing to defuse tensions between Washington and Tehran over the last few weeks, especially after an attack on Saudi oil facilities on Sept 14, an attck that the United States, Europe and Saudi Arabia have all blamed on Iran.

Macron has tried to bring Trump and Rouhani face-to-face or at the very least get them to engage, fearing that a new incident could inflame the region.

Rouhani said that in order for him to meet with US President Donald Trump mutual trust would need to be restored first, excluding that the two could face each other in an impromptu meeting along the corridors of the building.

"Why would we bump into one another?" the Iranian leader told Fox's Chris Wallace. "If we seek to pursue higher goals to benefit both countries, both people, it must be planned, and talks must be based on those plans.

"But prior to that, we must create mutual trust and the trust that is something that Mr. Trump took away from this framework. We had an agreement. Mr. Trump exited without a valid justification, and illegally, from an international agreement," he added, emphasizing that the restoration of trust would imply removing the sanctions, that he called "a kind of terrorism."

According to Rouhani, "the pressure imposed upon the nation and the people of Iran" shows that "clearly there is animosity even towards our children, our ill people because we -- they even have difficulty in obtaining basic medications and medical equipment."

The Iranian leader also accused America of supporting terrorism in the region, referring to the US role in the Syrian conflict.

"The country that is present and flying over the air space of and bombarding the soil of the country of Syria without permission of the government is the United States of America," he said on Fox News.

"There is no terrorism throughout the world that matches the activities of Israel," Rouhani further stated, claiming that Israel supports the Islamic State.

"Israel is the country that takes care of injured ISIS fighters and makes weapons available to them," he said.

As far as the issue of nuclear weapons is concerned, the president of the Islamic Republic held firm that his country was committed to the non-proliferation treaty as well as the additional protocols and that their activities were peaceful.

"If we had sought nuclear weapons, we wouldn't have signed the JPOA," he said, referring to the 2015 Nuclear Deal.

"The one who has broken the commitments is the United States of America," he remarked, adding that for future negotiations it does not matter whether in 2020 Trump would be re-elected or a Democrat would win the White House.

Finally, Rouhani denied that Tehran was responsible for the attack against Saudi facilities, attributing it to Yemen, and calling it a response to the Saudi attacks.

"The people of Yemen have the inherent right to defend themselves after being bombarded for over five years," he said.

He called the accusations against Iran "unfounded," claiming that they stemmed from a misunderstanding regarding the weapons used to carry out the attack.

According to Rouhani, the Saudis thought that Iran was behind the attacks because the equipment employed was adorned with the invocation "Ya-Ali," commonly used by Shia Muslims. He added that the Saudis mistakenly thought that Shia are only in Iran and not in Yemen.

"'Ya Ali' is a slogan chanted in Iran, in Yemen, in Iraq," Rouhani stated. "It is egregious to think that because of the words 'Ya Ali,' something can be attributed to Iran."

"But let's assume it was from Iran, with all of the money received from the United States for weapon systems and radar systems installed in Saudi Arabia and throughout the Arabian peninsula how come they were not able to prevent the missile from hitting the target?" he asked.

"If we accept the accusation, perhaps it is even more embarrassing for the United States," Rouhani further said. "Why have they not been able to establish where the missiles came from and prove it?"

"Those who share in the bloodshed of the Yemeni people have no right to launch such unfounded expressions," he concluded accusing both Americans and Europeans of supporting Saudi Arabia attacks in Yemen.


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