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Rouhani snipes at Saudis: 'You can't solve terrorism just by giving your people's money to a superpower'

Iran says it will continue missiles tests ‘if necessary’

Newly re-elected president says launches are ‘for peace,’ calls US president’s speech to Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia ‘just a show’

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a press conference in Tehran on May 22, 2017. (AFP/ Atta Kenare)
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a press conference in Tehran on May 22, 2017. (AFP/ Atta Kenare)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Monday that Iran does not need the permission of the United States to conduct missile tests, which would continue “if technically necessary.”

“Our missiles are for our defense 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, following renewed criticism from US President Donald Trump.

The Islamic Republic has continued to test-fire ballistic missiles, including with explicit threats to attack Israel, since the Iran nuclear deal was clinched in 2015. The missile launches have been condemned by the Trump administration and Israel.

Upon his arrival to Israel on Monday from Iran’s rival Saudi Arabia, Trump vowed that the Islamic Republic would never obtain nuclear weapons.

“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,” Trump said.

“And it must cease immediately.”

US President Donald Trump (center-left), Saudi Arabia's King Salman (center-right), and other leaders pose for a group photo during the Arabic Islamic American Summit at the King Abdulaziz Conference Center in Riyadh on May 21, 2017. (AFP/MANDEL NGAN)
US President Donald Trump (center-left), Saudi Arabia’s King Salman (center-right), and other leaders pose for a group photo during the Arabic Islamic American Summit at the King Abdulaziz Conference Center in Riyadh on May 21, 2017. (AFP/MANDEL NGAN)

While in Saudi Arabia, Trump accused Iran of fueling “the fires of sectarian conflict and terror” while calling for its international isolation.

Rouhani on Monday dismissed Trump’s summit with Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia as “just a show. ”

“The gathering in Saudi Arabia was just a show with no practical or political value of any kind,” Rouhani said at a press conference.

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

He said Friday’s election in Iran that saw Rouhani convincingly defeat hardline challenger Ebrahim Raisi had been a message to the world that Tehran was ready for engagement.

“We wanted to tell the world that on the basis of mutual respect and shared interests, we are to ready to have interaction,” he said.

Rouhani called relations with the United States “a curvy road,” saying he hoped the Trump administration will “settle down” enough for his nation to better understand it.

“The Americans do not know our region, that’s what the catch is,” Rouhani said in response to a question from The Associated Press. “Those who provide consultations or advice to the Americans, unfortunately, they are the rulers who either push America awry or with money, they just buy some people in America.”

Rouhani said that Iranians are “waiting for this (US) government to be civil” and that “hopefully, things will settle down … so we could pass more accurate judgments.”

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