Rouhani at U.N.: U.S. cannot solve conflict in the Middle East

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told the U.N. General Assembly Wednesday that Tehran will never surrender to foreign aggression and warned that the United States cannot solve the problems in the Middle East — because the answer must come from within the region.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks Wednesday at the 74th General Debate at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. Photo by Jemal Countess/

Rouhani said recent U.S. sanctions prevent Iran from participating in the global economy, a crime that Iran will never forgive or forget. He also said Iran stands up to all the “freedom seekers” in Yemen, Syria, “occupied Palestine,” Afghanistan and Iraq who refuse to bow to U.S. oppression and aggression.

“I hail from a country that has resisted the most merciless economic terrorism and has defended its rights to independence, science and technology development,” Rouhani said.

He added that Palestinians are the most affected victims, as they have been forced from their homes in Israel. The Israeli delegation was not present during Rouhani’s speech.

The Iranian leader’s remarks came one day after President Donald Trump vowed to whatever is necessary to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, including imposing the highest level of sanctions in history.

Rouhani reiterated his call to return to the negotiating table by rejoining the 2015 nuclear deal, saying Iran has honored its commitments for nearly a year.

“It has now become clear for all that the United States turns back its commitments and Europe is unable and incapable of fulfilling its commitments,” he said.

Iran has slowly rolled back its commitments under the deal by exceeding limits on uranium enrichment and other nuclear-related processes.

“Our response to any negotiation under sanctions is negative,” Rouhani noted. “The government and people of Iran have remained steadfast against the harshest sanctions in the past one and a half years and will never negotiate with an enemy that seeks to make Iran surrender with a weapon of poverty.”

The Iranian leader said nearly two decades of U.S. forces in Afghanistan has failed to stop terrorism there.

“The security of our region shall be provided when American troops pull out. Security shall not be supplied with American weapons and intervention,” he said. “Our region is on the edge of collapse as a single blunder can fuel a big fire. We shall not tolerate the provocative intervention of foreigners.”

ByNicholas Sakelaris