President Rouhani blasts US as "supporter of terrorism"
IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency
Tehran, Sept 26, IRNA -- After President Donald Trump's sanctions in the wake of the bombing of Saudi Arabian oil fields, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani told Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, "Today, America, unfortunately, is the supporter of terrorism in our region. Wherever America has gone, terrorism has expanded there."
Rouhani is in New York this week for the United Nations General Assembly, where Trump spoke this morning about many subjects, including the US relationship with Iran. Rouhani was not in attendance for Trump's remarks at the UN today, although an Iranian delegate was in the gallery.
Iran has denied any involvement in the Saudi bombings. While not specifically blaming Iran for the attacks, his remarks have raised tensions between the US and Iran.
Rouhani disagreed with Trump's assessment of Iran as terrorism sponsors. "Wherever we have gone, we have defeated terrorism," Rouhani said.
When asked if he and President Trump would meet while Rouhani at the United Nations, even if it were a chance meeting in the hall, Rouhani said, "Why would we bump into each other? If we seek to benefit both countries, it must be planned and talks based on those plans. But, prior to that, we must create mutual trust, and that trust is something that Mr. Trump took away."
He continued, "If the US government is willing to talk, it must meet the needed conditions."
Iran blames the US for walking away from the previously signed nuclear proliferation deal.
"We did reach an agreement," Rouhani said, "and it was signed and enshrined in the United Nations Security Council. Without a valid reason or cause, the United States left this agreement. It took away the foundation of this needed trust... Mr. Trump damaged the needed trust between the two countries."
Rouhani also characterized the sanctions imposed upon Iran by the US as a form of terrorism. He says children and ill people cannot get basic medicine. Removal of the sanctions could lead to diplomatic talks between the two countries.
"If there is a cessation to [the sanctions], then the atmosphere will change," Rouhani said.
While the US, France, England and Germany believe Iran was responsible for the Saudi oil installation attack, Rouhani disagrees. "...the [Saudi Arabian] spokesperson who thinks all Iranians are Shiites and Yemeni are not Shiites, that person is mistaken... Those who share in the bloodshed of the Yemeni people have no right to make such unfounded expressions."
As to whether he believes a Democrat president would be easier to speak with, Rouhani was ambivalent.
"For us," he said, it doesn't matter the US president is a Democrat or Republican. We say that America should live up to her commitments, a national commitment that is not based on the party in control. We seek peace. That is why we have invited all countries in the region to come together and not allow the flames of war to be fanned."
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