Iran’s newly re-elected President Hassan Rouhani ridiculed United States strategy in the Middle East, dismissing Donald Trump’s summit with Arab leaders as “just a show” and insisting that missile tests will continue. “The basis of military power is national power, and this power is from the back of elections”.

In that address, Trump also took aim at Iran, accusing Tehran of contributing to instability in the region.

He recalled that Saudi Arabia had given almost $100 billion to former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, during Iraq’s imposed war on Iran in the 1980s.

Rouhani, whose administration struck the 2015 landmark nuclear deal with world powers, decisively won a second term in Friday’s election.

But in April, Mr Trump ordered a wider review of the nuclear deal, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Iran “remains a leading state sponsor of terror, through many platforms and methods”.

Rouhani’s political foes have less interest in blocking the new contract now that he’s won a new term, said Sara Vakhshouri, president of Washington, D.C. -based consultant SVB Energy.

“Unfortunately, Americans have always made mistakes in our region”, Rouhani said.

For hard-liners and their affiliates – including the office of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Basij, the judiciary and the Intelligence Ministry – Rouhani is more helpful in achieving their major objectives.

The White House and the Saudis have actively worked for rapprochement in order to fight terrorism – with the president vowing to avoid criticism of Saudi Arabia’s dismal record on women’s rights and other human rights issues. Iranian officers were helping to direct the ground campaign against Aleppo, Syria, this fall, when rebels finally lost control of a city the dictator had starved. But who funded the terrorists? That’s when Saudi Arabia executed a prominent Shiite cleric and protesters in Iran attacked two of the kingdom’s diplomatic posts.

The Iranian president, however, did not rule out a meeting with his U.S. counterpart. “It will make them (rulers) stronger”. “Iran has stood by their side and continues to do so”, he said.

A report from Chatham House in 2015, before sanctions relief emerged, said Iran is in “severe need” of technology and capital that could emerge from a stronger relationship with global oil and gas companies.

Rouhani’s efforts to open up Iran to less hostile relations with the West still have to be couched in the rhetoric of anti-Americanism that has been a pillar of Iranian rule since the Islamic Revolution of 1979. He called on the world to isolate Iran. Trump has repeatedly described it as “one of the worst deals ever signed”, although his administration re-authorised waivers from sanctions this week.

The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee has backed legislation that would impose new sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile development, support for Islamist militant groups, weapons transfers and human rights violations.

“Our missiles are for peace and defense, not for assault”, he added.

Voskanyan recalled that during a visit to Armenia in 2016 December, Rouhani said that Iran regards Armenia as the most important country of a project created to link the Persian Gulf to the Black Sea.


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