Friday, 26 September 2014

Iranian President says US fighting terrorism with terrorism in Syria

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani smiles during a meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the United Nations in New York on September 23, 2014. (Photo: AFP - Jewel Samad)
Published Thursday, September 25, 2014
Updated at 5:33 pm (GMT +3) Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told the United Nations on Thursday that the West was responsible for "strategic blunders" in the Middle East and Central Asia that had created terror havens.
"The strategic blunders of the West in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Caucasus have turned these parts of the world into a haven for terrorists and extremists," he told the General Assembly in New York.
On Wednesday, Rouhani described the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group as "extremely savage and barbaric," but questioned the motives of the US-led bombing campaign and training of so-called "moderate" rebels in Syria.
In an interview with veteran US broadcaster Charlie Rose, Rouhani said ISIS' actions are at odds with Islamic tenets.
"From the viewpoint of the Islamic tenets and culture, killing an innocent people equals the killing of the whole humanity," Rouhani told the television network. "And therefore, the killing and beheading of innocent people in fact is a matter of shame for them and it's the matter of concern and sorrow for all the human and all the mankind."
Rouhani warned that US-led airstrikes would not destroy jihadists in Syria.
"It is not clear for us what they (the United States) are seeking," Rouhani said,
"Whether they're under the pressure of their own domestic public opinions and they want to put on a show, a theater for public consumption, or they're after a tangible, a real objective in the region; it is not crystal clear for us.
"But what I can tell you unequivocably, no terrorist group can be eradicated and destroyed through aerial bombardments only," he said.
"Are Americans afraid of giving casualties on the ground in Iraq? Are they afraid of their soldiers being killed in the fight they claim is against terrorism?" Rouhani added.
Rouhani said "ISIS was born out of destruction of Iraq and Afghanistan" and that the group did not exist "prior to 2003 and would likely not have come about if not for the invasion."
Rouhani denounced the US and it's Arab allies plans to train so-called "moderate" rebels of the Free Syrian Army to combat terrorists in their own country.
"So in other words they want to put more fuel on the existing fire?" he asked
"This is not the way, sir," he asserted. "The way to combat terrorism is not for us to give birth to another terrorist group in order to stand up to an existing terrorist group. These are the series of mistakes that have composed the rings of the chain that have taken us from where we were to where we are today, we must accept the realities. We cannot organize armed groups of fighters in order to reach our objectives."
Rouhani also asked: "Wasn't DAESH (ISIS) the same group who fought the Syrian government and the Syrian army? How is that they were not categorized as terrorists then?" and
"Why is it that ISIS went from not-so-bad to extremely-bad depending on who they targeted in their terrorist operations?"
Rouhani accused unnamed countries in the region of fueling the rise of ISIS by supporting extremist groups in the war against the Syrian army and government.
"Iran had no doubt in fighting terrorism since day one," he continued. "This is while some countries apparently had doubts or delays in countering ISIS."
"All of them in one fashion or another encouraged and supported these terrorists," he said.
"Terrorism is always bad without exceptions. You cannot say now it's good and at another time condemn it. It is always bad and evil."
British PM: Iran "part of the solution"
British Prime Minister David Cameron said Wednesday that Iran could be "part of the solution" in defeating jihadists in Syria after he held landmark talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
Addressing the UN General Assembly, Cameron said Britain had "severe disagreements" with Iran but that Tehran "should also be given the chance to show it can be part of the solution, not part of the problem."
"Iran's leaders could help in defeating the threat from ISIL," Cameron said, referring to the ISIS movement that has rampaged through Syria and Iraq.
"They could help secure a more stable, inclusive Iraq, and a more stable, inclusive Syria. And if they are prepared to do this, then we should welcome their engagement," Cameron said.
Iran is a staunch foe of the jihadists and has supported Iraq's leaders. But it has also backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a secular leader, whereas Western powers have demanded that he step down.
(Al-Akhbar, AFP)
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