Iran’s President Tells U.S. to ‘Stop Invading’ Mideast

TEHRAN (Washington Post) -
Iranian President Hasan Rouhani, center, attends a session of the Assembly of Experts in Tehran Tuesday. (AP Photo)
Iranian President Hasan Rouhani, center, attends a session of the Assembly of Experts in Tehran Tuesday. (AP Photo)

Iran’s new president urged the United States on Monday to “stop invading” the Middle East, and he said that the new American emphasis on diplomacy could help to “return stability” to Syria.

Hassan Rouhani made clear that he welcomed the deal struck this week by the United States and Russia to reduce Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile, but he warned Washington and its allies against any further use of force.

“The U.S. and Europe know the gruesome effects of war in this region,” Rouhani said. “They know that they did not achieve their goals in previous wars.” As for Syria, he said: “We are happy that a war has been averted and will do our best to make sure one does not begin.”

Rouhani’s remarks, to commanders of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, came a day after President Barack Obama acknowledged that he and Rouhani had corresponded by letter in recent weeks. He will travel to New York later this week to attend the annual United Nations General Assembly, a summit which his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, dominated with anti-Israel rhetoric.

Rouhani’s toned-down comments nevertheless delivered a message of frustration with U.S. policies in the region.

“You are uninvited guests. Stop invading the region. You must not practice Iranophobia. We do not need your intervention,” he said.