Rouhani and Trump Exchange Harsh Words in Difficult Week for US - Iran Relations
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and U.S. President Donald Trump severely criticized each other’s governments in speeches at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.
Speaking first, Trump accused the Iranian government of looting Iran’s resources and of trying to conceal a corrupt dictatorship behind the mask of democracy.
Trump added that Iran is a country rich with culture and history, but currently only exports violence, bloodshed, and turmoil, due to which ordinary Iranians have been paying a heavy price.
He said, “The Iranian government uses Iran’s resources to help Hezbollah and other terrorist groups, instead of using the country’s wealth for the welfare of Iranian citizens. We cannot allow it to continue destabilizing the Middle East while it advances its dangerous missile program.” In reference to the U.S.’s withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal, he added, “[the U.S.] could not remain part of an agreement that allows Iran to hide its nuclear ambitions while it secretly works towards fulfilling them.”
Speaking a few hours after Trump, Iranian President Rouhani criticized the U.S. for exiting the Nuclear Deal, saying “global security is not a trivial game to be played by America.”
Rouhani referred to America’s sanctions on Iran as an act of “economic terrorism” that will not only
have ramifications for Iran but for other countries as well through global trade. A new set of U.S. sanctions on Iran is set to go into effect on November 5. The new sanctions will prevent Iran from exporting oil and natural gas, two of the country’s most crucial exports.
The bitter exchange between Rouhani and Trump comes just days after an attack on Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, which further strained relations between Iran and the U.S.
Saturday’s attack took place in the Iranian city of Ahvaz, where the Revolutionary Guards Corps, an elite militia that operates independently of the Iranian government, was set to parade through the city.
The attack, carried out by four gunmen, killed at least 25 people, including some children and other civilians who had been among the spectators. The Ahvaz National Resistance, a little-known group of separatists with roots in Iran’s Arab minority, claimed responsibility.
However, the Iranian government called the attack an act of foreign aggression instead of terrorism, and said that the perpetrators were backed by the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and the United States.
In a speech on Monday, at a funeral ceremony for the victims of the attack, the deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guards, Hossein Salami, said, “You have seen our revenge before. You will see that our response will be crushing and devastating, and you will regret what you have done.”