close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
AFP
April 19, 2019

Rouhani calls on ME states to ‘drive back Zionism’

World

AFP
April 19, 2019

TEHRAN: Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani called on Middle East states on Thursday to "drive back Zionism", in an Army Day tirade against the Islamic republic’s archfoe Israel.

Speaking flanked by top generals before troops began their annual march-past, Rouhani also sought to reassure the region that the weaponry on display was for defensive purposes and not a threat.

"The region’s nations have lived alongside each other for centuries and never had a problem... If there is a problem, it is caused by others," he said in the speech broadcast live on state television.

"Let us stand together, be together and rid the region of the aggressor’s presence." Rouhani assured neighbouring countries that Iran’s armed forces are "never against you or your national interests" but are "standing against the aggressors."

"The power of our armed forces is the power of the region’s countries, the Islamic world." he said. "If we have a problem in the region today, its roots are either with Zionism or America’s arrogance."

Rouhani called on Muslim nations to band together and "restore the historical right of the nation of Palestine," saying that "Zionism ... has been committing crimes in the region for the past 70 years",

"The final victory will surely be with the righteous," he said. The military parade was held next to the south Tehran mausoleum of the Islamic Republic’s founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

It showcased some of Iran’s latest weaponry, including the domestically designed and manufactured Kowsar fighter jet, which was first unveiled last year. Iran also displayed its short-range Zelzal missile and an upgraded model of the Russian S-200 air defence system.

US-manufactured Bell, Cobra and Chinook helicopters bought before the Islamic revolution of 1979 also took part in the air display. Diatribes against Israel are standard fare of official speeches in Iran, although some, such as a call by Rouhani’s firebrand predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for Israel to be "wiped off the map", have triggered international condemnation.

Iran does not recognise Israel and opposition to the Jewish state has been a central tenet of official policy since the revolution. Iran has supported Palestinian groups and has vociferously opposed the now moribund Middle East peace process under which the Palestinians were offered limited autonomy in the territories captured in the Six-Day War of 1967.

Rouhani has previously called Israel a "cancerous tumour", and called on Muslim governments to unite against it and its US ally. Iranian officials have warned repeatedly that Israel will soon cease to exist, but have usually been careful to underline that that will come about not through a direct attack by Iran. "In 25 years’ time, with the grace of God, no such thing as the Zionist regime will exist in the region," supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in 2015.

Topstory minus plus

Opinion minus plus

Newspost minus plus

Editorial minus plus

National minus plus

World minus plus

Sports minus plus

Business minus plus

Karachi minus plus

Lahore minus plus

Islamabad minus plus

Peshawar minus plus