Rouhani : Iran never asked for meeting with Trump

Hugh Fox
September 28, 2018

Attending the UN General Assembly, Rouhani defended Iran's military support for the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is a member of the minority Alawite sect, as a bulwark to defeat the Islamic State extremist group.

China said the USA president's remarks at the meeting were "unwarranted accusations".

Speaking at a press conference in New York, Rouhani said that "as long as the deal serves our interests we will remain in the pact".

Tensions between the United States and Iran have soared since Trump, an outspoken critic of Tehran, took office last January.

In the first moments of the speech, Trump declared he had made more progress than "almost any other administration in the history of our country" - prompting audible laughs in the cavernous United Nations chamber.

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Trump said that the USA will honor the right of every nation to pursue its own customs, beliefs and traditions and that he will never tell other nations how to live, work or worship.

Rouhani voiced regret that the deal, negotiated under former president Barack Obama, had become a "toy" of U.S. domestic politics and accused Trump of seeking to overthrow his government.

Meanwhile, Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards also kept up the anti-Washington rhetoric, calling Trump "evil and adventurous" and accusing him of waging economic war on Tehran, Reuters reported.

Wednesday's meeting highlighted a rift between the United States and its European allies over the Iran nuclear deal. "So true", the president said, eliciting several muffled laughs.

Bolton also issued unsubtle warnings to Iran's leaders: "We are watching, and we will come after you".

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Maas said "There was great unanimity among those involved that we want to keep this deal alive, that we want to soften the consequences resulting from USA sanctions".

Earlier on Monday, European Union (EU)'s foreign and security policy chief Federica Mogherini said that the EU will set up a legal entity to facilitate legitimate financial transactions with Iran in light of the USA withdrawal from the global agreement on Tehran's nuclear program and the re-imposition of sanctions.

Mr Rouhani never used the US President's name but his words were clearly directly aimed at the American firebrand.

"It is quite odd, unprecedented", that the United States is asking members of the Security Council "to not adhere to a resolution from that same Security Council, voted on by the USA, all members voted in favor", Rouhani said, but now "whoever adheres to that resolution will be punished". He said the people of the Middle East had suffered "illegal invasion" in Iraq, the unjust overthrow of the Government in Libya in 2011, and a disastrous civil war in Syria - all the result of Western meddling. "This shameful and barbaric practice must end, and Iran must return our Americans and other innocent civilians at once".

For now, though, Rouhani made clear that Iran is not looking for a clash with the US. They do not respect their neighbors or borders or the sovereign rights of nations.

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"Regrettably we found that China has been attempting to interfere in our upcoming 2018 election coming up in November against my administration", he said.

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