Rouhani urges end to Yemen war, efforts to restart national dialog
President Hassan Rouhani has urged Saudi Arabia and its allies to stop their “blame game” against Iran over Yemen’s crisis, saying efforts should instead be driven towards ending the deadly war on the impoverished nation and pave the way for intra-Yemeni dialog.
Rouhani made the remarks on Wednesday in a meeting with Dutch Acting Minister of Foreign Minister Sigrid Kaag, who had arrived in Tehran a day earlier for talks with Iranian officials.
He rejected the accusations against Iran of missile shipment to Yemen as “completely wrong and baseless,” saying such claims do not serve to resolve the standing problems.
Instead of fabricating such accusations, efforts should be made to immediately end the war on Yemen, establish a ceasefire there, provide humanitarian assistance to violence-stricken people, and finally pave the ground for intra-Yemeni talks, Rouhani said.
Rouhani also drew attention to the large-scale sales of destructive arms by Western states to regional countries, saying the military equipment, including warplanes and missiles, are being used against innocent civilians.
Iran says the allegations about its provision of missiles to Yemeni forces are lies and a foolish scenario.
‘Iran won’t initiate JCPOA violation’
Elsewhere in his comments, Rouhani touched on the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers.
“One cannot add something to the JCPOA or distract something from it,” Rouhani said, referring by abbreviation to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the official name of the nuclear deal.
The United States under President Donald Trump has been untiringly trying to sabotage the accord, and has threatened to leave it or have it renegotiated.
Rouhani said as long as the other parties commit to their obligations under the deal, “The Islamic Republic will do its utmost to preserve the agreement, and will, undoubtely, not be the party initiating its violation among the seven countries.”
The president also said there were “extensive capacities” for the development of Iran and the Netherland’s cooperation. The current trade volume stands at around €1 billion, which has to increase, he added.
The Islamic Republic, he said, welcomes the participation of Dutch companies in projects in different areas.
He emphasized the need for the Dutch government to encourage the country’s banking sector to establish stronger ties with its Iranian counterpart.
Kaag, for her part, pointed to the European Union’s continued commitment to the JCPOA, and the role the agreement played in the development of bilateral relations.
She stressed the need for the continuation of talks between Tehran and the bloc towards further trust-building in areas of common interest.
She also pointed to Iran’s missile program, and said her country recognized the Islamic Republic’s right to maintain a defensive military program, and considered such a program to be legitimate.