Iranian President Hassan Rouhani described Israel as the “most terrifying threat” to peace in the Middle East and the world in his speech before the United Nations General Assembly, Ynet reported Tuesday.
“Israel, which has a nuclear arsenal and is blatantly threatening others with nuclear annihilation, is the most terrifying threat to the peace and stability of the region and the world,” the Iranian president said.
In 2013, ahead of his inauguration as president, Rouhani characterized Israel as a “wound” on the face of the Muslim world that “needs to be removed.” In 2015, Rouhani refused to answer a question as to whether or not Israel should be destroyed. Earlier this year, in a less explicit threat, he said that Israel would never “feel safe.”
Most of Rouhani’s speech was directed towards the United States, its decision to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear agreement, and its reimposition of sanctions. The renewed sanctions were characterized by Rouhani as “economic warfare.”
In his U.N. speech, the Iranian president claimed that Iran was abiding by the terms of the nuclear deal and U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231, which implemented the deal. However, the U.N. has found evidence that Iran has been exporting arms to Yemen and Syria, which would put the Islamic Republic in violation of 2231’s provisions prohibiting it from exporting arms.
Earlier in the day, U.S. President Donald Trump focused his speech on the threat Iran posed to international peace. He said, “Iran’s leaders sow chaos, death and destruction. They do not respect their neighbors or borders, or the sovereign rights of nations. Instead, they plunder the nation’s resources to enrich themselves and to spread mayhem across the Middle East and far beyond.”
He also noted that Iran’s aggression was enabled by sanctions relief, which allowed it to increase its military budget “by nearly 40%.”
In his May announcement that the U.S. was withdrawing from the nuclear deal, Trump observed that since it received the windfall of billions in sanctions relief, Iran’s “bloody ambitions have grown even more brazen.”
Last week, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley asserted, as she presided over a UN Security Council meeting that “if there is one country that is the source of conflict and instability in the Middle East – one country that merits a quarterly debate in the Security Council – that country is not Israel. It’s Iran.”
[Photo: United Nations / YouTube ]