Iran’s newly re-elected President Hassan Rouhani took barbed swipes at the U.S. and its ally Saudi Arabia on Monday, hitting back at both a day after President Donald Trump used his first foreign trip to the kingdom to call for further isolation of Iran.
The 68-year-old cleric, a political moderate within Iran who secured a resounding victory over a hard-line opponent, called relations with the United States “a curvy road” even as he touted the 2015 nuclear accord Iran secured with the Obama administration and other world powers as a “win-win” agreement.
He was less flattering in his assessment of the Trump administration so far. Rouhani said that Iranians are “waiting for this government to become stable intellectually” and that “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,” Rouhani said in response to a question from The Associated Press. “Unfortunately, Americans have always made mistakes in our region,” he continued. “When they attacked Afghanistan (and) Iraq, when they made sanctions against Iran. In Syria, they made mistakes, and also in Yemen.”
Rouhani also criticized Saudi Arabia, Tehran’s main regional rival, just hours after Trump departed the country bound for Israel, where he arrived Monday. He said the Sunni-ruled kingdom “has never seen a ballot box,” a pointed dig in the wake of Iran’s presidential election Friday that drew long lines as over 40 million people voted.