After US sends troops to Mideast, Rouhani warns foreign forces to ‘stay away’
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After US sends troops to Mideast, Rouhani warns foreign forces to ‘stay away’

Iranian president also says country will present peace plan at UN, while extending ‘hand of friendship and brotherhood’ to its neighbors

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani speaks at parliament in the capital Tehran on September 3, 2019. (Atta Kenare/AFP)
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani speaks at parliament in the capital Tehran on September 3, 2019. (Atta Kenare/AFP)

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that the presence of foreign forces creates “insecurity” in the Gulf, after the US ordered the deployment of more troops to the region.

“Foreign forces can cause problems and insecurity for our people and for our region,” Rouhani said in a televised speech at an annual military parade, adding that Iran would present to the UN a regional cooperation plan for peace.

Tensions escalated between Iran and the United States after devastating September 14 attacks on Saudi oil installations that Washington and Riyadh have blamed on Tehran.

Following the attacks, the United States announced on Friday that it was sending reinforcements to Saudi Arabia at “the kingdom’s request.”

An Iranian army member looks at a missile in an exhibition in which the Revolutionary Guard also displays pieces of the American drone Global Hawk shot down by the Guard in the Strait of Hormuz in June 2019, in Tehran, Iran, Sept. 21, 2019 (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

In his speech on Sunday, Rouhani called on the foreign powers in the Gulf region to “stay away.”

“If they’re sincere, then they should not make our region the site of an arms race,” he said.

“Your presence has always brought pain and misery for the region. The farther you keep yourselves from our region and our nations, the more security there will be for our region.”

Rouhani said Iran would present a plan for peace to the United Nations in the coming days.

“In this sensitive and important historical moment, we announce to our neighbors, that we extend the hand of friendship and brotherhood to them,” he said.

Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Major General Hossein Salami warned Saturday that any country that attacks Iran would become the “main battlefield” and added the the Islamic Republic was “ready for any type of scenario.”

“Whoever wants their land to become the main battlefield, go ahead,” he told a news conference in Tehran. “We will never allow any war to encroach upon Iran’s territory.

“We hope that they don’t make a strategic mistake,” he said, listing past US military “adventures” against Iran.

Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami (2nd-R) and Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh (R), head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards aerospace division, looks at debris from what Iran presented as a downed US drone reportedly recovered within Iran’s territorial waters, at Tehran’s Islamic Revolution and Holy Defense museum, during the unveiling of an exhibition of what Iran says are US and other drones captured in its territory, on September 21, 2019. (Atta Kenare/AFP)

Yemen’s Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for the strikes on Saudi Arabia but the US says it has concluded the attacks involved cruise missiles from Iran and amounted to “an act of war.”

Saudi Arabia, which has been bogged down in a five-year war across its southern border in Yemen, has said Iran “unquestionably sponsored” the attacks.

The Saudi military displays what they say are an Iranian cruise missile and drones used in recent attack on its oil industry at Saudi Aramco’s facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais, during a press conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, September 18, 2019. (Amr Nabil/AP)

The kingdom says the weapons used in the attacks were Iranian-made, but it stopped short of directly blaming its regional rival.

“Sometimes they talk of military options,” Salami said, apparently referring to the Americans.

Yet he warned that “a limited aggression will not remain limited” as Iran was determined to respond and would “not rest until the aggressor’s collapse.”

The United States upped the ante on Friday by announcing new sanctions against Iran’s central bank, with US President Donald Trump calling the measures the toughest America has ever imposed on another country.

Washington has imposed a series of sanctions against Tehran since unilaterally pulling out of a landmark 2015 nuclear deal in May last year.

It already maintains sweeping sanctions on Iran’s central bank, but the US Treasury said Friday’s designation was over the regulator’s work in funding terrorism.

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