Rouhani: Saudis ‘should stop back­ing ter­ror­ists’

The Miracle - - National & Int - Source: Al-Jazeera

Ira­nian Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani has ac­cused the coun­try’s ri­val Saudi Ara­bia of back­ing ter­ror­ists in Ye­men’s war, ac­cord­ing to state TV. Saudi Ara­bia and Iran com­pete for in­flu­ence in the Mid­dle East, where they sup­port ri­val groups in Ye­men, Syria, Iraq and Le­banon. “Saudi Ara­bia’s in­ter­ven­tion in Ye­men and their sup­port of ter­ror­ists in Ye­men and Syria are main hur­dles to im­prove ties be­tween Tehran and Riyadh. Saudi Ara­bia should stop back­ing ter­ror­ists,” Rouhani told state TV on Tues­day. In Septem­ber 2014, Iran-al­lied Houthi fight­ers took con­trol of Ye­men’s cap­i­tal, Sanaa, and pro­ceeded to push south­wards to­wards the coun­try’s sec­ond-big­gest city, Aden. In re­sponse to the Houthis’ ad­vances, a Saudiled coali­tion of Arab states launched a mil­i­tary cam­paign in 2015 to de­feat the Shia fight­ers and re­store Ye­men’s gov­ern­ment. In his ad­dress, Rouhani also dis­cussed the 2015 nu­clear deal and said that Iran would hon­our it. How­ever, he dis­missed the idea of in­spec­tions at its mil­i­tary sites, re­port­edly floated by the US, say­ing they were not re­quired un­der the deal with world pow­ers. “Our com­mit­ments to the world are clear ... our re­la­tions with the IAEA (In­ter­na­tional Atomic En­ergy As­so­ci­a­tion) are de­fined by rules, not by the US,” Rouhani said in the tele­vised ad­dress. “I see it as un­likely that the IAEA will ac­cept the re­quest for in­spec­tions, but even if they do, we will not.” He was re­spond­ing to news-me­dia re­ports that Nikki Ha­ley, US am­bas­sador to the UN, last week met IAEA chief Yukiya Amano and dis­cussed ac­cess­ing Ira­nian mil­i­tary sites in or­der to en­sure Iran’s com­pli­ance with the deal. The ac­cord saw in­ter­na­tional sanc­tions eased in ex­change for strin­gent con­trols on Iran’s nu­clear pro­gramme and closer IAEA in­spec­tions. The in­spec­tions are de­signed to pre­vent nu­clear ma­te­rial be­ing moved from nu­clear cen­tres to other ar­eas, in­clud­ing mil­i­tary bases. The IAEA has re­peat­edly re­ported that Iran is in com­pli­ance with the deal. Rouhani said Iran had the sup­port of Europe and other sig­na­to­ries, and added that US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump would strug­gle to muster sup­port for tear­ing it up. “The US is in the most dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion in its his­tory for cre­at­ing unity against us and I think it’s not pos­si­ble for it to do so now,” Rouhani said. De­spite the push­back, the deal re­mains un­der threat. The US has strongly crit­i­cised re­cent Ira­nian mis­sile tests and im­posed new, non-nu­clear sanc­tions - prompt­ing Rouhani to hint in mid-Au­gust that Iran could eas­ily walk away from the deal “within hours” if forced to do so. Ha­ley re­sponded that new US sanc­tions against Iran re­late to Iran’s sup­port for “world­wide ter­ror­ism” and other desta­bil­is­ing ac­tions in the re­gion. She said Iran could not “use the nu­clear deal to hold the world hostage”. Trump is due to no­tify Congress in Oc­to­ber about whether Iran is ad­her­ing to the deal.

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