In a wide-ranging interview with Fox News’s Chris Wallace that aired Tuesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani accused Israel of supporting the Islamic State and the U.S. of supporting terrorism in the Middle East.
“Israel… on a daily basis targets the people of Palestine, Lebanon and most recently even Iraq and Syria… there is no terrorism in the world that matches the activities of Israel,” he said.
Rouhani then argued that Palestinians “who fight for the freedom for their land…are not terrorists,” adding that the real terrorists are “those who render aid to Daesh [ISIS].”
Rouhani said that Israel was “certainly and undoubtedly” supporting the jihadist group, based on the fact that it had provided some aid to rebels fighting against the Assad regime in Syria, one of Tehran’s staunchest allies in the region.
“Israel is the country that takes care of injured IS fighters and they make weapons available to them — so Daesh are the terrorists,” he said.
While Israel has set up a field hospital for injured Syrians and even given some rebels aid and safe passage out of the country, it has strenuously rejected any connection to the terrorists of the Islamic State group. (Times of Israel)
Rouhani went on to denounce America as being a "supporter of terrorism" in the Middle East and elsewhere.
"Wherever America has gone, terrorism has expanded in the wake," he said, giving U.S. involvement in Syria without President Bashar al-Assad's permission as an example.
"The country that is present and flying over the air space of and bombarding the soil of the country of Syria without permission of the government is the United States of America," he said.
Rouhani said he would not consider meeting with the U.S. unless economic sanctions were lifted.
“Why would we bump into one another? If we seek to pursue higher goals to benefit both countries, both people, it must be planned,” he explained.
“But prior to that, we must create mutual trust and the trust is something that Mr. Trump took away from this framework. We had an agreement and Mr. Trump exited without a valid justification and illegally from an international agreement,” he said referring to the 2015 nuclear deal. “Trust must be restored, and the restoration of trust consists in taking away the pressure imposed upon the nation and the people of Iran which show that clearly there is animosity even towards our children, our ill people, because we — they even have difficulty in obtaining basic medications and medical equipment.”
He continued: “This is a type of terrorism. This is inhumane, and if there is a cessation to this, then, of course, the atmosphere will change. Of course, then it can be envisioned, and we can talk about many different topics of mutual interest for both sides.”