Iran Accuses US of ‘Iranophobia’, ‘Warmongering’ After Trump’s Visit to Saudi Arabia
Iran called on Washington on Monday to abandon its “warmongering policy, intervention, Iranophobia and sales of dangerous and useless weapons to the main sponsors of terrorism,” according to state-run Press TV.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi also claimed that US policy in the Middle East was destabilizing the region.
“Unfortunately, under the hostile and aggressive policies of the American statesmen, we are witnessing a renewed strengthening of terrorist groups in the region and miscalculation of the dictatorships which support these groups,” Qassemi said.
Qassemi’s comments come after US President Donald Trump clinched a massive $110 billion military deal with Saudi Arabia over the weekend during his first foreign trip since he took office.
In a speech to Arab Muslim leaders in Riyadh on Sunday, Trump singled out Iran as the world’s biggest sponsor 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,” Trump said.
“For decades, Iran has fueled the fires of sectarian conflict and terror. It is a government that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing the destruction of Israel, death to America, and ruin for many leaders and nations in this room.”
In a tweet following the speech, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused Trump of ignoring Iran’s democratic credentials to “milk” Saudi Arabia of billions of dollars.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, 68, was re-elected for a second term with 57% of the vote in presidential elections last Friday, promising better relations with the rest of the world and more jobs for Iran’s youth. He’ll serve another four years in the post.
A moderate compared to some of the country’s hardline clerics and political leaders, Rouhani was a key architect of the 2015 nuclear deal with the US, the European Union and other partners. His first term was marked by an emergent international outreach, a move supported by then-US President Barack Obama.
On Monday Trump arrived in Israel, where he again singled out Iran. Standing next to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Trump said: “The United States and Israel can declare with one voice that Iran must never be allowed to possess a nuclear weapon, and must cease its deadly funding, training and equipping of terrorists and militias.”
The nuclear agreement has been controversial in both the US and Iran, and it emerged as a top campaign issue in Iran’s election.
Under the agreement, Iran pledged to reduce its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98% and significantly scale back its number of installed centrifuges.
In exchange, the US and the EU lifted some of the sanctions that have crippled the country’s economy.
The fall in global oil prices has dented most of the economic benefits the opening of markets in the West may have had on Iran, leading to accusations from opponents Rouhani has not honored his promises.
Conservative clerics were also angered by the fact that men and women danced together in the streets of Tehran following Rouhani’s election victory, testing the country’s strict segregation rules, Reuters reported.