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 realization among your Arab neighbors 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.”
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, in comments that came after the separate announcement of a $110bn US arms deal with Riyadh.
Iran shot back on Monday morning, as the 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.
Hassan Rouhani, who was returned as Iranian president in weekend elections, later said: “You can’t solve terrorism just by giving your people’s money to a superpower.”
“Americans resorted to many different methods against Iran but failed in all … We are waiting for the new government to find stability and continuity in its policies,” said Rouhani.
“The problem is that the Americans do not know our region and those who advise US officials are misleading them.”
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