Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the United States has cooked up a story about the seizure of four tankers carrying Iranian gasoline bound for Venezuela after suffering an embarrassing diplomatic defeat at the United Nations Security Council which on Friday rejected its proposal to extend an arms embargo on Iran.
“Having suffered the political defeat, the Americans claimed to have seized four Iranian vessels in international waters. It however turned out later that neither were the tankers Iranian nor Iran-flagged. It was all just fake news,” Rouhani said during a meeting of the National Headquarters for Managing and Fighting the Coronavirus in Tehran on Saturday.
The Wall Street Journal had on Thursday cited US officials as saying that the US government had for the first time seized vessels allegedly carrying Iranian gasoline to Venezuela. It said the US had recently seized four vessels, called Luna, Pandi, Bering, and Bella, on the high seas and they were being transferred to Houston, Texas.
Iran’s Ambassador to Venezuela Hojjat Soltani on Thursday rejected the report as another “lie” and an instance of “psychological warfare.”
“Neither the tankers are Iranian, nor their owner or flags have anything to do with Iran,” he said in a Twitter post.
Soltani said the fake news aimed to cover up the failure of the US administration’s policy toward Iran.
The Security Council on Friday rejected a US resolution to extend an arms embargo on Iran that is due to expire in October.
Only two of the Council’s 15 members voted in favor, highlighting the division between Washington and its European allies since US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from Iran’s nuclear deal, which is officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and has been endorsed by Security Council Resolution 2231, in May 2018.
Besides the United States, only the Dominican Republic voted in favor of the draft as China and Russia voted against the bid, with the remaining 11 Security Council members, including the European allies of the United States, abstaining.
“The failure of the United States is a sign of the power of the JCPOA … The reason why the resolution had 11 abstentions and 2 votes against was because everyone believes in maintaining the JCPOA for the sake of security. The United States failed miserably in this regard,” Rouhani said.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran, with its power in the region and by cooperating with its friends with whom it shares common goals, has achieved great successes so far,” he said.
“Yesterday was a great political victory for Iran and a disgraceful defeat for the United States. We hope that the countries of the region will learn a lesson and will not approach usurping countries.”
Rouhani warns UAE against letting Israel into region
Rouhani also strongly lambasted the UAE-Israel deal that will lead to full normalization of their diplomatic relations, warning Abu Dhabi about the consequences of allowing the Tel Aviv regime to secure a foothold in the region and wield influence.
The Iranian president noted UAE rulers have taken a wrong path to think that their security and economic growth would be ensured if they sided with the United States and the Israeli regime.
He denounced the UAE-Israel normalization agreement as a betrayal of the Palestinian cause, Muslim world as well as the issue of the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds.
Rouhani also condemned US President Donald Trump’s hugely-controversial endorsement of occupied Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “undivided capital,” relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds and the so-called “deal of the century” on the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“The Zionists are planning to occupy and expropriate more Palestinian territories, expand settlement activities and press ahead with their crimes against the Muslim Palestinian nation,” he said.
Rouahni highlighted that UAE officials agreed to the normalization deal with Israel in order to please Trump and improve his chances of garnering more votes in the forthcoming US presidential election scheduled for November 3.
Various Palestinian factions in the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip have roundly condemned the normalization announcement.