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Iran's Rouhani blasts Trump's Saudi summit

May 22, 2017

Iran's newly re-elected president has dismissed US President Donald Trump's calls for the region to isolate Tehran. Peace in the Middle East could only be possible with Iran at the table, Rouhani said.

Iran Präsident Hassan Rohani
Image: Getty Images/AFP/A. Kenare

At a press conference on Monday, Iran's newly re-elected president, Hassan Rouhani, dismissed US President Donald Trump's weekend summit with Arab leaders, describing it as "just a show with no practical or political value of any kind."

Countering Trump's calls to isolate the Islamic Republic, Rouhani stressed that peace in the Middle East could not be achieved without Tehran's help.

Read more: Trump calls for global coalition against terrorism, 'isolation' of Iran

"Who can say regional stability can be restored without Iran?" Rouhani said. "Who can say the region will experience total stability without Iran?"

Trump in Saudi Arabia - Alexandra von Nahmen reports from Riyadh

In his speech on Islamic extremism on Sunday, Trump also singled out Tehran as an agent of terrorism. 

"From Lebanon to Iraq to Yemen, Iran funds, arms and trains terrorists, militias and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region," the US president said. "Until the Iranian regime is willing to be a partner for peace, all nations of conscience must work together to isolate it."

Despite Trump's confrontational rhetoric, Iran had nothing to do with the terror attacks on the US in September 2001, or subsequent attacks in Europe - including Germany, France and England.

When asked how he forsaw his country's relations with the US, Rouhani said he hoped the Trump administration would "settle down" and try to understand his nation better.

Read more: Trump under scrutiny in Saudi Arabia after negative remarks on Muslims

"The Americans do not know our region, that's what the catch is," he said. "Those who provide consultations or advice to the Americans, unfortunately, they are the rulers who either push America awry or with money, they just buy some people in America."

Tehran vows to continue ballistic missile tests

Rouhani also dismissed the US and Saudi governments' $110 billion dollar arms deal, saying: "You can't solve terrorism just by giving your people's money to a superpower."

The White House said the deal would support the long-term security of the Gulf region in the face of Iranian threats.

However, while Rouhani's greatest political achievement to date has perhaps been the 2015 agreement with six major powers, including the US, to curbing Iran's nuclear program, the Iranian president insisted that ballistic missile tests would continue "if technically necessary."

Rouhani said that Iran's missiles were "for our defense and for peace, they are not offensive," adding that he would not need permission from the US to conduct such tests.

Iran wants 'more democracy and interaction with the world'

Rouhani won this week's Iranian presidential election with a resounding majority, a sign that most Iranians wish to keep on the president's course of reform and modernization.

"The Iranian people voted for moderation as they know a prosperous economy and jobs can only happen through investment, and investment through freedom and interaction with the world," he said as he began his second term as president.

Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers was expected to open up the country to the world once again, but progress has proven slow. Trump, meanwhile, has threatened to tear up the deal.

dm/se (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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