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UNITED NATIONS: Iranian Presi­dent Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday hit back at US President Donald Trump, saying the country “does not tolerate threats from anyone”.

Rouhani was responding to Mr Trump’s fiery address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York in which he described the Isla­mic republic as “a corrupt dictatorship” and accused it of supporting terrorism and destabilising the Middle East.

The US president also hinted he might not back a 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran when it comes up for renewal next month.

A defiant Rouhani told delegates at the UN Mr Trump’s address was “ig­­­­norant, absurd and hateful rhetoric”.

He said: “Iran does not seek to restore its ancient empire, impose its official religion on others or export its revolution through the force of arms”.

He insisted Iran’s defence capabilities, including its missiles, were purely deterrents designed to maintain peace and stability in the troubled region.

Rouhani said the crises affecting Syria, Yemen and Bahrain had no military solutions and would only be resolved through ceasefire and “accep­­tance of the will and wishes of the people”.

Israel has consistently refused to comment on its nuclear arsenal.

However, former US Secretary of State Colin Powell alleged a year ago that Israel has a nuclear arsenal of 200 warheads, a thorny subject that Israel never comments on.

Israeli leader Netanyahu bristles at such remarks by the former Republican leader Powell who was responsible for the launch of attack on Iraq by the United States.

Published in Dawn, September 21st, 2017