Rouhani says regional stability impossible without Iran

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".

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi has reacted to Trump's remarks, and urged U.S. to stop supplying arms to Saudi Arabia, which is one of the "main sponsors of terrorism".

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

The Iranian president highlighted the significance of national power, and stressed that such power is not realized by purchasing weapons, but rather through the nation's high turnout in national elections.

He added that it was Iran's allies in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq that had been leading the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group and other militants.

Highlighting Iran's major role in resolving the crisis in Syria and in countering terrorism in the Middle East, the French president called for concerted action to contribute to peace and stability in the region.

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Already fragile diplomatic and trade ties between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shi'ite-dominated Iran were severed past year after Saudi Arabia executed a Shi'ite cleric and as a result, protesters ransacked the Saudi embassy in Iran.

Rouhani said Iran was the vital force behind the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and repeated Iran's official stance that the United States and Saudi Arabia are funding "terrorism" in the Middle East. The accord took effect in January 2016 and was supposed to terminate all nuclear-related sanctions against Iran all at once, but its implementation has been hampered due to USA policies.

But in a reminder of the worldwide pressure that Iran faces, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said yesterday Teheran must stop supporting armed groups in Syria and Iraq that destabilise the Middle East if it wants good relations with the West.

"The Americans do not know our region, that's what the catch is", Rouhani said in response to a question from The Associated Press. "We hope Europe does not fall into the trap of countries that encourage their wrong interpretations of the region", Rouhani added.

Congratulating the day of Khorramshahr's freedom, the President said: "Khordad 3rd is the day of victory against aggression and freedom of Khorramshahr with God's will by Islam warriors and I congratulate this day to the whole Iranian nation and Imam Khomeini's soul".

Following Trump's comments in Israel, that he would "never let" Iran get a nuclear bomb, Iranian Foreign Minister Qassemi also said that the United States and its allies "should know that Iran is a democratic, stable and powerful country" and that it promotes "peace, good neighborliness, and the creation of a world opposed to violence and extremism".

  • Sonia Alvarado