US-Middle East relations — NRT Focus

Already fragile diplomatic and trade ties between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shi'ite-dominated Iran were severed past year after Saudi Arabia executed a Shi'ite cleric and as a result, protesters ransacked the Saudi embassy in Iran.

He also ridiculed the $110 billion arms deal the United States and Saudi Arabia announced during Trump's visit, suggesting it was Saudi Arabia's way of making amends for the September 11 attacks. "When they attacked Afghanistan (and) Iraq, when they made sanctions against Iran". Turning to the prime minister, who joined him for the speech, Trump said, "Benjamin Netanyahu wants peace".

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Monday that President Trump will not apologize to Israeli officials for sharing highly classified intelligence about ISIS to the Russians.

Trump landed in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, the first stop of his first foreign tour since becoming president. Trump touched it in prayer and, adhering to tradition, placed a note in a deep crevice. Pointing to wars in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, he warned that stoking the divisions could ultimately mean forcing the U.S.to intervene.

Trump has criticised the nuclear deal, which was opposed by every Republican in Congress and several Democrats. Hillary Clinton, while giving the nuclear deal her tepid approval, was just as negative about Iran in general, and former president Barack Obama regularly recited the misleading mantra about Iran being the "leading state sponsor of terrorism". "If you know of a case where America acted correctly, you tell me".

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani Monday responded to US President Donald Trump's bash on Iran pointing out that the US will never prevent Iran from continuing its ballistic missile program.

"The expansion of such cooperation in Syria is very important and we welcome the continuation of trilateral cooperation among Iran, Russia and Syria and are resolute to go on with it", the Iranian president pointed out.

The state-controlled Syrian Central Military media said the new advances widen the government's control south of Palmyra in Homs province and secure the highway linking the ancient city to the capital Damascus.

The tensions with Iran that Trump is tapping into on his first foray overseas run deep.

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That refrain echoed the Saudi King Salman's description of the Iranian government as "the tip of the spear of global terrorism".

This is all a showing of the Saudi's strong support to Trump after the ties reached a low point during the Obama Administration, which reached out to Iran with the signing of the Nuclear Accord. Both countries are traditional allies of the United States.

Appreciating the Russian president for his congratulations and referring to the process of cementing economic relations between the two countries in the recent years, Dr Rouhani said: "This growing process indicates that the two countries are determined to develop relations, especially in economic and trade fields".

The Iranian president added that "the issue of terrorism cannot be solved through giving money to superpowers".

"I do not think the American people are ready to trade the lives they lost in September 11 with billions of dollars gained through weapons sales", Rouhani said.

It's a strategy that also comes with a new promise to U.S. allies: the longstanding emphasis on democratic values, which USA presidents have long pressed in talks with autocratic regimes, will no longer stand in the way of deepening ties. "They should be picked by the people". I hope one day Saudi Arabia also drives its national strength through elections.

"While the elections were highly constrained, their outcome was significant", he said.

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.


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