Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani warned the US that air strikes would not destroy extremists in Syria, appearing also optimistic about securing a deal over Tehran’s nuclear program, in an interview broadcast on Wednesday.
In an interview with veteran US broadcaster Charlie Rose aired on PBS, Hassan Rouhani described the so-called “Daesh” [ISIL] extremist group as “extremely savage and barbaric,” but questioned the motives of the US-led bombing campaign in Syria.
“It is not clear for us what they are seeking,” he said in the interview.
“Whether they’re under the pressure of their own domestic public opinions and they want to put on a show, a theater for public consumption, or they’re after a tangible, a real objective in the region; it is not crystal clear for us,” he said.
“But what I can tell you unequivocably, no terrorist group can be eradicated and destroyed through aerial bombardments only,” Rouhani said in New York, where he is attending the UN General Assembly.
Moreover, Rouhani accused unnamed countries in the region of fueling the rise of Daesh by supporting groups in the war against the Syrian government.
“All of them in one fashion or another encouraged and supported these terrorists,” he said.
“Terrorism is always bad without exceptions. You cannot say now it’s good and at another time condemn it. It is always bad and evil,” he stated.
Asked about the prospect of securing an agreement on Iran’s nuclear activities, Rouhani said he believed a deal was “within reach” before a November 24 deadline.
“Certainly, before the deadline that’s remaining ahead of us, we will succeed in resolving this issue,” he told Rose.
He said Iran must safeguard its right to use peaceful nuclear energy and the West must also be assured there will be no deviation from that.
“I do not believe that between Iran and America, there must be perpetual distance, a perpetual gap and tension,” he said.
“I do believe that one day, these tensions will come to an end,” he added.