Rouhani: ‘Trump Anti Terrorism Summit ‘Only A Show’

Published May 23rd, 2017 - 07:59 GMT
Terrorism is fought on the frontlines in Syria and Iraq, Rouhani said at a press conference. "That's where the real fight is, not in Riyadh." (AFP)
Terrorism is fought on the frontlines in Syria and Iraq, Rouhani said at a press conference. "That's where the real fight is, not in Riyadh." (AFP)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has scoffed at joint efforts by the United States and Iran's regional rivals to combat Islamist terrorism, dismissing President Donald Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia as "show."

Speaking after Trump's two-day visit to Riyadh, Rouhani said, "This summit was a show and had no political value. It is not possible to fight terrorism with precisely these kinds of shows."

The Iranian leader, who was recently re-elected to serve a second term, also slammed a multibillion-dollar arms deal signed between the US and Saudi Arabia during the visit, arguing that this would not solve the problem either.

Terrorism is fought on the frontlines in Syria and Iraq, Rouhani said at a press conference. "That's where the real fight is, not in Riyadh."

On the arms deal, Rouhani added, "We don't need that. We produce our own weapons."

He also slammed Washington's decision to side with the Saudis, arguing that the Islamic kingdom was undemocratic: "The Saudis have never seen a ballot box in their life and don't know what elections are."

Iran and Saudi Arabia are fighting multiple proxy wars in the Middle East, most notably in Yemen and Syria. In both cases, the US sides with Saudi Arabia. At the same time, US and Iranian forces are both backing the government in Iraq against Islamic State militants.

Saudi forces have been accused of using excessive force during the fight to oust rebel forces in Yemen.

Trump gave a much-anticipated speech on combatting Islamist terrorism before Arab leaders in Riyadh on Sunday.

Walking back on the Islamophobic rhetoric of his previous speeches on home soil, Trump stressed that his administration was looking to strengthen partnerships across the region, and said the war on terrorism is not a fight between faiths but "a battle between good and evil."

He struck a confrontational tone towards Tehran - one which had been avoided by his White House predecessor, Barack Obama - accusing Iran of funding and arming extremist militants in Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen.

"All nations of conscience must work together to isolate Iran," Trump said.

Rowhani retaliated by criticizing Trump's leadership. "We still do not know what the new US government plans and wants," he said.

The Iranian president, however, did not rule out a meeting with his US counterpart.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif also hit out at the US in a series of sarcastic tweets on Monday.

"Of all places, the US president uses this bastion of democracy and moderation to attack Iran shortly after its democratic election," Zarif wrote on Twitter.

Iran, which held presidential elections Friday, is a sharp contrast, Zarif noted, to the inherited monarchy that rules in Saudi Arabia.

He also used his series of tweets to accuse Trump of "milking" the Saudis with the new weapons deal.

 

© 2019 dpa GmbH

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