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Terrorism Main Plight Afflicting Middle East Region

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, in a meeting with his Italian counterpart in Rome, has described terrorism as the main plight afflicting the Middle East region, warning that an unstable Middle East will also adversely affect European countries.

“Without comprehensive and firm cooperation, terrorism cannot be uprooted and undoubtedly if the Middle East turns into an unstable region, its detrimental consequences will reach Europe as well,” Rouhani said.

He added that the existing problems in some regional countries can be settled through political and not military approaches.

“Iran and Italy, as important players in the Middle East region and the European Union respectively, can have effective and constructive cooperation in a way that guarantees the interests of two nations, the region and the world,” the Iranian president said.

Rouhani lamented that some countries are not resolute on the fight against terrorism and added, “Unfortunately, there are countries in the region that seek to use terrorism as a tool in order to fulfill their own short-term political interests in the region.”

The Iranian president stressed the importance of making efforts to end certain countries’ political, financial and arms support for terrorists.

Rouhani further said Tehran and Rome enjoy a great potential to improve relations following the implementation of a nuclear agreement reached between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries, dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), last July to serve the two nations’ interests and promote regional and international peace and stability.

The Iranian president said the two countries failed to properly use mutual opportunities and capacities over the past years due to “unfair and wrongful sanctions” but “it is now time to make up for lost ground.”

Iran and Italy can expand their broad cooperation in the various fields of energy, industry, mining, agriculture, scientific and cultural exchanges as well as modern technologies, he said.

The Iranian President also said Saudi Arabia’s execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr earlier this month was a big mistake.

President Rouhani said Saudi officials should apologize for the killing of Nimr, the massacre of the Yemeni people, the killing of a large number of people during last year’s Hajj rituals, and the support of terrorists active in the region.

Regarding the assaults on Saudi diplomatic missions in the Iranian capital, Tehran, and the city of Mashhad following the killing of Nimr, the Iranian president said Iran has fulfilled all of its duties to reduce tensions.

“We condemned the raid on the embassy, and identified and arrested the assailants… They will be tried. But Saudi measures in continuing tensions are unjustifiable,” President Rouhani said.

Around 100 people were detained over the transgression, which was strongly denounced by top Iranian officials. Nevertheless, the Saudi government severed diplomatic relations with Iran on January 3 following the raids.

The Iranian president also said that the US administration can take the opportunity to enhance economic relation with Iran following the implementation of Tehran’s landmark nuclear agreement with six world powers.

“Non-hostile and tension-free relations between Iran and the US are possible; the key to this lies in Washington not in Tehran; and they should use the key, put aside hostilities and pressure on Iranian people,” Rouhani said, adding that US officials “should understand that the era of sanctions and pressure has ended.”

He further stressed that the US administration should come to the understanding that conflicts in the Middle East region will not be settled without consultations with Iran.

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