Iranian president Hassan Rouhani gestures during a news conference in Tehran, Iran, May 22, 2017.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
As Sunni-Shi’ite tensions in the Middle East mount, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said he wants Muslim states to come together and help each other instead of seeking friendships with the United States or Israel.
In a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Rouhani called for an end to hostile relations with Saudi Arabia, adding that the Sunni Kingdom is wrong to put its trust in Israel and the US.
“You are mistaken if you think Iran is not your friend, but the US and Israel are. This mentality is a strategic mistake and miscalculation,” Iran’s Press TV reported Rouhani as saying. “Our path in the region is to establish and promote stability; we want the geographic borders not to change, nations to decide for themselves, and bombardments and aggression against regional nations to be stopped.”
Rouhani also addressed criticisms of Iran’s involvement in the Syrian Civil War stating that the Islamic Republic was invited to assist in the war against ISIS and promote stability.
He blamed Israel and the US for the instability in the region and claimed both countries were doing so to benefit from the arms trade. “The hegemonic [states] plunder the oil and wealth of the region and, in return, they sell their different weapons to fan the flames,” he said.
During the meeting, Rouhani claimed that the recent firing of missiles on Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh by the Iranian-backed Houthis from Yemen was a reaction to “Saudi aggression.”
“How should the Yemenite people react to [the] bombardment of their country? So, they are not allowed to use their own weapons? You stop the bombardment first and see if the Yemenites would not do the same,” Rouhani said.