Iran Urges Regional Unity After Trump Move on Golan Heights

LONDON (Reuters/Hamodia) —
A general view shows the village of Ein Qiniyye in the Israeli Golan Heights, Tuesday. (Reuters/Ammar Awad)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told Iraq’s prime minister on Tuesday that regional countries must unite to fight against U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize the Golan Heights as part of Israel.

“The excessive demands of the Zionist regime and the wrong decisions of Washington necessitate closer cooperation among regional countries,” Rouhani was quoted as saying by the state broadcaster IRIB in a phone conversation with Iraq’s Adel Abdul Mahdi.

Rouhani said developments in the Golan Heights were “very dangerous for regional security.”

The American proclamation drew condemnations from Gulf Arab allies, as well, putting them in a rare alignment with Iran, despite an otherwise adversarial relationship with the Islamic Republic.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait criticized Monday’s move and said the territory was occupied Arab land. Riyadh and Abu Dhabi said it was an impediment to peace.

Lebanon said the decision contravened international law.

“The world is witnessing a black day,” Lebanese President Michel Aoun said on Twitter during a visit to Russia.

Meanwhile, thousands of Syrians gathered Tuesday in different cities to protest Trump’s decision.

SANA posted photographs of a march in the southern city of Sweida on Tuesday morning, in which men and women carried Syrian and Palestinian flags and banners reading “Golan is Syrian.” SANA said other protests took place in the southern city of Daraa, about 13 miles from the Golan Heights.

Protests were also held in the northern city of Aleppo, Syria’s largest, Homs and Hama in the center, and Hassakeh in the northeast.

Syria slammed the U.S. step as “blatant aggression.” The Foreign Ministry said Trump’s move represented the “highest level of contempt for international legitimacy” and showed that Washington was “the main enemy” of Arabs.

On Tuesday, the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation condemned Trump’s decision, saying it does not change the fact that the Golan Heights “is Arab and Syrian occupied land,” The Associated Press reported.

In addition, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said on Tuesday that “we should expect that Trump will recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the West Bank,” according to the Naharnet website.

He alleged that the American recognition of Yerushalayim in December 2017 paved the way for the Monday recognition of the strategic plateau.

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