TEHRAN: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani urged Muslims worldwide on Saturday to unite against the United States and assured Saudis they were “brothers” who had nothing to fear from Tehran.
US President Donald Trump abandoned a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between major powers and Tehran in May and has since re-imposed crippling unilateral sanctions.
“What the United States wants of [the Middle East] today is enslavement,” Rouhani said.
Muslim governments should unite against the United States and “the region’s cancerous tumour”, Israel, he said.
President Rouhani urges Saudi Arabia to end dependence on US aid
“Submitting to the West headed by America would be treason against our religion... and against the future generations of this region,” the Iranian president told an international conference on Islamic unity in Tehran, in a speech broadcast live on state television.
“We have a choice to either roll out red carpets for criminals, or to forcefully stand against injustice and remain faithful to our Prophet [PBUH], our Holy Quran and our Islam,” Rouhani said.
He urged Iran’s regional rival Saudi Arabia to end its dependence on “insulting” US military aid. “We are ready to defend the Saudi people’s interests against terrorism and superpowers with all our might,” he said.
“We do not ask $450 billion for it and will not insult you.”
Riyadh cut diplomatic ties with Tehran in January 2016 after protesters stormed its diplomatic missions in Iran following its execution of a prominent Shia cleric.
It accuses Tehran of fomenting unrest among Shia people in the Gulf Arab states and the two governments have supported opposing sides in devastating civil wars in Syria and Yemen.
Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2018