Pres­i­dent likens Is­rael to cancer growth

The Sunday Independent - - WORLD - Reuters AP Sput­nik

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. |

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