President likens Israel to cancer growth
TEHRAN: Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani yesterday called Israel a “cancerous tumour” established by Western countries to advance their interests in the Middle East.
Iran’s leaders frequently condemn Israel and predict its demise, but Rouhani, a relative moderate, rarely employs such rhetoric.
Addressing an annual Islamic Unity Conference, Rouhani said “one of the ominous results of World War II was the formation of a cancerous tumour in the region.” He went on to refer to Israel as a “fake regime” set up by Western countries.
Iran supports militant groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas that are pledged to Israel’s destruction. Iran has never threatened to attack Israel, but has vowed to retaliate if it is attacked. Israel views Iran as an existential threat. Rouhani said the US cultivates close ties with “regional Muslim nations” to protect Israel, an apparent reference to Iran’s regional rival, Saudi Arabia, and the kingdom’s Sunni Arab allies. He said bowing to US pressure amounted to “treason”.
He added, however, that Iran was prepared to defend Saudi Arabia from “terrorism and superpowers.”
“We do consider you as a brother,” he said. “We do consider the people of Mecca and Medina our brothers,” he added, referring to Islam’s two holiest cities, in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran nearly three years ago after Iranian protesters stormed its diplomatic posts in Iran in response to its execution of a Shia cleric. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called on Muslims worldwide yesterday to unite against the US , instead of “rolling out red carpets for criminals”.
In May, Washington reimposed sanctions on Tehran, after President Donald Trump pulled out of a 2015 international nuclear deal with Iran under which they had been lifted. | MOSCOW Humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontieres (MSF, or Doctors Without Borders) fears the possibility of Ebola spreading from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to neighbouring South Sudan, which lacks adequate medical facilities, MSF senior humanitarian specialist Michiel Hofman said on Friday.
A new Ebola epidemic had claimed the lives of at least 219 people as of November 20.
“This epidemic could indeed expand and get to the neighbouring countries. The closest [one] is Uganda,” Hofman indicated.
Hofman said the main problem lies in reaching out to communities controlled by armed groups.
According to Hofman, MSF considered the possibility of providing its staff with armed escorts but later dropped that idea.
According to Hofman, the ongoing armed conflict has resulted in a wide-scale displacement of people in the country.
“People cannot reach [hospitals] any more, or they have already fled and they cannot survive without getting medical care, food, and everything from the outside,” he said.
Speaking about Russia’s involvement in efforts to resolve the conflict in the country, Hofman said Moscow’s assistance and the training, delivered to the DRC national army, enabled the country’s armed forces to redeploy across the country.
He added, however, that it was too early to say whether the army’s presence would lead to the improvement of the humanitarian situation on the ground. |