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Rouhani launches blistering attack on Israel

At opening of Organization of Islamic Cooperation summit, Iran’s president says world is abandoning Palestinians to ‘massacre’

President of Iran Hassan Rouhani (C) attends the 13th Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Summit at Istanbul Congress Center (ICC) on April 14, 2016 in Istanbul. (AFP/SEBNEM COSKUN)
President of Iran Hassan Rouhani (C) attends the 13th Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Summit at Istanbul Congress Center (ICC) on April 14, 2016 in Istanbul. (AFP/SEBNEM COSKUN)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday called Israel the “main source of violence and extremism” in the world, and lamented that the global community has abandoned the Palestinians as the Jewish state carries out a “massacre.”

Rouhani made the comments at the 13th summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation held in Istanbul, the Tansim news agency reported.

“We should always be vigilant against the danger of the Zionist regime as the main source of violence and extremism,” he declared and accused Israel of carrying out a “massacre of innocent Palestinians” while the international community does nothing.

Rouhani also called for Islamic unity and cautioned against the OIC giving a message that might cause division in the Islamic world, an apparent stab at Saudi Arabia that had wanted to draft a resolution against Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah. Predominantly Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran are locked in a multi-front battle for domination in the Muslim world.

“Since any divisive move does not enjoy consensus among [the member states] of the organization and the Islamic Ummah and is in conflict with the raison d’être of the organization, it would be invalid,” he said according to the report.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani walks during a welcoming ceremony of the 13th Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Summit at the Istanbul Congress Center (ICC), Istanbul, April 14 2016. (AFP/POOL/BERK OZKAN)
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani walks during a welcoming ceremony of the 13th Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Summit at the Istanbul Congress Center (ICC), Istanbul, April 14 2016. (AFP/POOL/BERK OZKAN)

Although Iran signed a nuclear deal last year that saw crippling sanctions lifted from the country in return for agreeing to dismantle the atomic weapons capable elements of its nuclear program, it has continued to carry out ballistic missiles tests.

Under a UN Security Council resolution passed alongside the landmark nuclear deal, Iran is forbidden to develop weapons that can carry nuclear weapons.

At the end of March the US, France, Britain and Germany and three allies called for a United Nations Security Council meeting to formulate an “appropriate response” to Iran’s recent ballistic missile tests, which they say were carried out in defiance of the UN resolution.

The letter called the launches “destabilizing and provocative” and says the Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile and Qiam-1 short-range ballistic missile that were fired are “inherently capable of delivering nuclear weapons.”

Israel also called for punitive action against Iran following the tests.

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