Iran's re-elected president Rouhani slams US-Saudi summit

Iran's re-elected president Rouhani slams US-Saudi summit
Iran's newly re-elected President Hassan Rouhani slammed US' strategy in the Middle East on Monday, while dismissing Donald Trump's summit with Arab leaders as "just a show".

3 min read
President Hassan Rouhani was re-elected for his second term on Friday [Getty]

Iran's newly re-elected President Hassan Rouhani ridiculed US strategy in the Middle East, dismissing Donald Trump's summit with Arab leaders as "just a show" and insisting that missile tests will continue.

"Our missiles are for our defence and for peace, they are not offensive. Know that while there is a technical need to conduct missile tests, we will do so and we will ask the permission of no one," Rouhani told reporters in Tehran. 

His comments followed fierce criticism from the US president during visits to Saudi Arabia and Israel. 

"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," Trump said in Jerusalem hours earlier.

Rouhani, who defeated hard-line challenger Ebrahim Raisi in Friday's presidential election, responded by ridiculing decades of US strategy in the Middle East. 

"When they attacked Afghanistan, they made a mistake. When they attacked Iraq, they made a mistake. When they imposed sanctions on us, they made a mistake," he said.

"If you know of a case where America acted correctly, you tell me."

He said the only sensible move by Washington was the nuclear deal it signed with Iran in 2015, when the US "talked with respect" and reached a "win-win result". 

"If American chooses another path, it will fail again. There is no doubt in this," he said, while noting Iran was still forming its judgement of the Trump administration. 

"We are waiting for this government to settle... I hope it can settle so that we can have a better judgement about those in Washington," said Rouhani. 

Meanwhile, Rouhani described Trump's summit with Arab leaders on Sunday as "just a show with no practical or political value of any kind".

In a jibe at the billion-dollar deals signed between Trump and the Saudi government, he said: "You can't solve terrorism just by giving your people's money to a superpower."

He added that it was Iran's allies in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq that had been leading the fight against the Islamic State group and other militants.

"Those who have fought terrorists are the Syrian and Iraqi people. Iran has stood by their side and continues to do so," he said.

"The American people have not forgotten the blood spilt on September 11. They will not allow it to be traded for billions of dollars," he added, accusing the Saudis of promoting the extremism behind militant groups. 

On Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted that the United States may be "milking" Saudi Arabia of $480 billion after Washington signed major deals with Tehran's Gulf rival.

"Iran - fresh from real elections - attacked by @POTUS in that bastion of democracy & moderation. Foreign Policy or simply milking KSA of $480B?" Zarif tweeted.

The US and its Arab allies have repeatedly accused Iran of funding, training and supporting groups like Lebanon's Hizballah, the Houthi rebels in Yemen and opposition forces in Bahrain, among others.

Most prominent of these is Syria's Bashar al-Assad, whom Iran has vehemently stood by since the conflict erupted six years ago, despite international critisicm.