Skip to main content

Trump calls Iran funder of terrorism in Israel speech

Rouhani hits back: 'The problem is that the Americans do not know our region'
Newly elected Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has responded to US criticism (Reuters)

Donald Trump sparked a war of words with Iran on Monday, as the US president used two speeches in Saudi Arabia and Israel to accuse Tehran of funding terrorism and fuelling "the fires of sectarian conflict and terror".

Speaking alongside Israel's president, Reuven Rivlin, at his residence in West Jerusalem on Monday, Trump said: "There is a growing realisation among your Arab neighbours that they have common cause with you in the threat posed by Iran."

"Most importantly, the United States and Israel can declare with one voice that Iran must never be allowed to possess a nuclear weapon - never, ever - and must cease its deadly funding, training and equipping of terrorists and militias, and it must cease immediately."

When meeting Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump said that Iran should have thanked the United States for the 2015 nuclear accord between Tehran and world powers because it led to the lifting of sanctions.

His comments came hours after he told an audience in Saudi Arabia that Iran fuelled "the fires of sectarian conflict and terror" and called for its international isolation. His words came after the separate announcement of a $110bn US arms deal with Riyadh.

Rouhani: US does not know our region

Hassan Rouhani, who was returned as Iranian president in weekend elections, said on Monday: "You can't solve terrorism just by giving your people's money to a superpower."

And he called a summit of Muslim leaders attended by Trump in Saudi Arabia at the weekend as a "ceremonial [event] that had no political value and will bear no results".

'Who can say the region will experience total stability without Iran?'

- Hassan Rouhani, Iran president

Rouhani added: "Who can say regional stability can be restored without Iran? Who can say the region will experience total stability without Iran?"

He said that Americans had resorted to many different methods against Iran but failed in all and that it was waiting for the new US government to find stability and continuity in its policies.

"The problem is that the Americans do not know our region and those who advise US officials are misleading them."

Earlier the Iranian foreign ministry accused the US of selling arms to "dangerous terrorists" in the Middle East and of spreading "Iranophobia" aimed at encouraging Arab states to buy weapons.

"Once again, by his repetitive and baseless claims about Iran, the American president ... tried to encourage the countries of the region to purchase more arms by spreading Iranophobia," said Bahram Qassemi, a foreign ministry spokesman.

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.