UNITED NATIONS: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani wavered between criticism and engagement in a speech to the UN on Thursday, slamming Western blunders in the Middle East but signaling commitment to securing a deal on nuclear power.
Days after the United States widened bombing raids against jihadists in Iraq to Syria, Rouhani warned that regional moderates — albeit with international support — were best placed to resolve extremism threatening the world.
“The strategic blunders of the West in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Caucasus have turned these parts of the world into a haven for terrorists and extremists,” he told the UN General Assembly in New York.
“Improper interference in the developments in Syria are clear examples of this erroneous strategic approach in the Middle East.”
The United States has the support of five Arab countries in its air campaign to defeat what President Barack Obama on Wednesday called a “network of death” — the Islamic State group.
“The right solution to this quandary comes from within the region… with international support and not from outside,” he said, warning otherwise there would be “repercussions for the whole world.”
There was no interaction between Obama and Rouhani on the sidelines of the General Assembly, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes told reporters.
The two leaders last year spoke by telephone, but expectations had been low of contact this time.
Rouhani is determined to lift damaging Western sanctions that have hit his economy hard and prevented oil companies from doing business in the country