Web Desk — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday Iran was the vital force behind the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria and repeated Iran’s official stance that the United States and Saudi Arabia are funding “terrorism” in the Middle East.
“Who fought against the terrorists? It was Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Russia. But who funded the terrorists? Those who fund terrorists cannot claim they are fighting against them,” he said.
Rouhani said stability could not be achieved in the Middle East without Tehran’s help, responding to criticism of the Islamic Republic from U.S. President Donald Trump who is visiting the region.
Trump called for a U.S. alliance with Muslim countries on Sunday aimed at fighting terrorism, singling out Iran as a major source of funding and support for militants in the Arab world.
Rouhani, a pragmatist who won last week’s presidential election, hit back hard by dismissing the summit as a “ceremonial (event) that had no political value and will bear no results”.
“Who can say regional stability can be restored without Iran? Who can say the region will experience total stability without Iran?” he said at a news conference.
At a weekend summit in Riyadh, Trump accused Iran of funding and arming “terrorists, militias and other extremist groups” in Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon and backing President Bashar Assad in Syria’s civil war.
Rouhani, who fronted Tehran’s deal with six major powers in 2015 to curb Iran’s nuclear program in return for the lifting of sanctions, said the U.S. administration lacked knowledge about the Middle East.
“Americans resorted to many different methods against Iran but failed in all … We are waiting for the new U.S. administration to find stability and continuity in its policies,” Rouhani said.
“The problem is that the Americans do not know our region and those who advise U.S. officials are misleading them.”