President Trump just finished the first leg of his overseas journey when he completed his trip to Saudi Arabia. Now he is in Jerusalem, Israel. His decision to start his first foreign trip in Saudi Arabia did not go unnoticed considering how former President’s had always begun in a western country. By all appearances, the meeting went very well where the President secured a $110 billion arms deal with the Saudis and denounced radical Islamic terrorism while encouraging our ally to work together with us to combat this evil.
But it seems like the newly minted Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was not happy with the productive way the international visit ended. Rouhani hit back at Saudi Arabia and the United States after President Trump said that the alliance between Saudi Arabia and the United Sates should seek to further isolate Iran from the international community.
Rouhani is 68 years old and he is known as an old cleric and a political moderate. His recent victory came despite opposition from an incredibly hard line opponent in the general election. The Iranian President called the 2015 nuclear deal bolstered by the Obama administration as a win-win but called the relationship between our two countries as a curvy road.
However, his assessment of the Trump administration was far from flattering. Probably because Trump doesn’t kiss his rear end the way the former administration did. Rouhani maintained that the Iranian people are,
“waiting for this government to become stable intellectually and hopefully, things will settle down … so we could pass more accurate judgments. The Americans do not know our region, that’s what the catch is. Unfortunately, Americans have always made mistakes in our region. When they attacked Afghanistan (and) Iraq, when they made sanctions against Iran. In Syria, they made mistakes, and also in Yemen.”
Saudi Arabia is known as Tehran, Iran’s primary rival and thus Rouhani took the opportunity to bash their neighbor as well. Rouhani took a dig at Saudi Arabia for “never having seen a ballot box.” His comments came just after his election in which 40 million people had voted. He said,
“I hope that the day will come that Saudi Arabia will adopt this path. They should have polling stations in place for the people and let the rulers not be on a hereditary basis. They should be picked by the people.”
Rouhani characterized the Saudi Arabian-American trip as nothing more than a “show off” and a trip that “will not have any political and practical values. Furthermore, he stated,
“The issue of terrorism cannot be solved through giving money to superpowers. Who can claim that stability of the region can be restored without Iran?”
The irony of his statements is not lost. He vociferously maintained that it was Iran that could and would uproot terrorism despite the fact that they are allied with President Bashar Al-Assad of Syria who was caught using chemical weapons on his own people. Assad is even rumored to have used crematoriums on his people.
The acrimonious relationship between the United States and Iran has always been evident. Terrorists never love freedom loving countries. The relationship between Saudi Arabia and Iran is complex as well. Since 2016 they have not had diplomatic relations because of the Saudi Arabian execution of a Shiite cleric and the protest attacks by Iranians at Saudi Arabia diplomatic posts. Ever since then surrounding countries have taken harsher stances against Iran.
Rouhani’s comments are likely stemming from the fact that he realizes he is losing power. There is an American President unwilling to let him win and is threatening to renegotiate the former nuclear deal. The United States is also allied with their greatest neighborly enemy. With Saudi Arabia and the United States working together Iran could see themselves become more in danger of extinction. Their relevance could very well diminish over time.
As the old saying goes, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.