Rouhani: US no friend of Muslims, Mideast

President Hassan Rouhani has continued his new anti-US position at the latest Islamic Unity Conference.

al-monitor Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks at a news conference on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Sept. 26, 2019. Photo by REUTERS/Brendan Mcdermid.

Nov 14, 2019

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke at Iran’s 33rd International Islamic Unity Conference on Nov. 14, delivering one of his strongest anti-US and anti-Israeli speeches ever.

“No one doubts that [nothing good has come] from the arrogant powers and the United States,” Rouhani said at the annual conference, which brings Shiite and Sunni leaders and scholars together. He added, “In recent centuries, the source of every war, killing, bloodshed and conflict in the region has been the United States and the Zionist regime. From the killing of the people of Afghanistan to the killing of people in Iraq and Yemen to creating conflicts in various Muslim countries, they were all the plots of the United States in the region."

Rouhani — who ran for president in 2013 primarily on the promise that through negotiations with Western countries such as the United States, Iran’s economic and political gridlock could be resolved — added, “Those who say the United States can be a solution — give us an example of which country the United States has helped.”

Rouhani said the “most important issue of the Islamic world is to eliminate the idea amongst the youth that the United States has been a friend of nations in the region.” Citing the example of US officials who have stated they will keep troops in Syria to safeguard its oil, Rouhani said, “Up until now, we have not heard more directly that the goal of the United States in the region is to plunder Muslim resources.”

With US President Donald Trump reapplying sanctions after exiting the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany, Rouhani has had little choice but to publicly accept that his administration’s strategy to initiate bilateral talks with the previous US administration was ultimately fruitless. Political rivals of the president have consistently urged him to look inward to solve the country’s economic and political problems. Rouhani’s claim that "nothing good has come" from the United States stands in stark contrast to his administration’s foreign policy agendas and in particular the historic handshake between Rouhani’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and former US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Rouhani has become more vocal against his domestic critics as well as the United States ahead of the country’s parliamentary elections in February 2020. A conservative-led parliament would certainly render Rouhani a lame duck during his last year in office.

Hossein Taeb, head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Intelligence Organization, gave an address in the city of Mashhad to an election supervisory board in which he discussed the election. Taeb, who has personally overseen the crackdown on protests and activists during his tenure, said he hoped for a new parliament that would move toward the policies of “the second revolution.” The so-called “second phase of the revolution” is an idea proposed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that ultimately attempts to involve the younger generation of Iranians in politics — or those who have the same revolutionary fervor as the first generation of the Islamic Revolution.

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