Iran’s newly re-elected pres­i­dent crit­i­cizes U.S.

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - ADAM SCHRECK

TEHRAN, IRAN — Iran’s newly re­elected Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani took barbed swipes at the U.S. and its ally Saudi Ara­bia on Mon­day.

The pres­i­dent hit back af­ter Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump used his first for­eign trip to the king­dom to call for fur­ther iso­la­tion of Iran.

The 68-year-old cleric, a po­lit­i­cal mod­er­ate within Iran who se­cured a re­sound­ing vic­tory over a hard­line op­po­nent, called re­la­tions with the United States “a curvy road” even as he touted the 2015 nu­clear ac­cord Iran se­cured with the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion and other world pow­ers as a “win-win” agree­ment.

He was less flat­ter­ing in his as­sess­ment of the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion so far. Rouhani said that Ira­ni­ans are “wait­ing for this gov­ern­ment to be­come sta­ble in­tel­lec­tu­ally” and that “hope­fully, things will set­tle down … so we could pass more ac­cu­rate judg­ments.”

“The Amer­i­cans do not know our re­gion, that’s what the catch is,” Rouhani said in re­sponse to a ques­tion from The Associated Press. “Un­for­tu­nately, Amer­i­cans have al­ways made mis­takes in our re­gion,” he con­tin­ued. “When they at­tacked Afghanistan (and) Iraq, when they made sanc­tions against Iran. In Syria, they made mis­takes, and also in Ye­men.”

Rouhani also crit­i­cized Saudi Ara­bia, Tehran’s main re­gional ri­val, just hours af­ter Trump de­parted the coun­try bound for Is­rael, where he ar­rived Mon­day. He said the Sunni-ruled king­dom “has never seen a bal­lot box.”

Rouhani fur­ther crit­i­cized the Saudi sum­mit that Trump at­tended on Sun­day, de­scrib­ing it as a “showoff. The is­sue of ter­ror­ism can­not be solved through giv­ing money to su­per­pow­ers,” Rouhani said, adding Iran would “up­root ter­ror­ism.”

Ira­nian-backed forces have been fight­ing Is­lamic State mil­i­tants in Iraq and sup­port the gov­ern­ment of Pres­i­dent Bashar As­sad.

VAHID SALEMI, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Ira­nian Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani gives a news con­fer­ence in Tehran on Mon­day. Rouhani de­ci­sively won a sec­ond term in Fri­day’s elec­tion.

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