Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the people of Saudi Arabia have never seen a ballot box, while their country can be much stronger than today if it is not ruled by a hereditary government.
“People of Saudi Arabia are our friends, and we have always loved them. I hope the Saudi government chooses the right path,” Rouhani told Iranian and foreign reporters in his first press conference after re-election.
The Iranian president highlighted the significance of national power, and stressed that such power is not realized by purchasing weapons, but rather through the nation’s high turnout in national elections.
“US President Trump saw nearly 45 million Iranians went to the ballot boxes, but he chose to visit a country [Saudi Arabia] that does not know what election is, and its people have never seen a ballot box,” he noted.
“We hope Saudis would hold elections one day, and end the hereditary rule. On that day, the Arab country would be much stronger than today,” Rouhani added.
Rouhani was asked about a recent arms deal between the US and Saudi Arabia worth almost $110 billion, which is set to reach $350 billion over 10 years, plus a series of other deals.
He recalled that Saudi Arabia had given nearly $100 billion to former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, during Iraq’s imposed war on Iran in the 1980s.
“Saudi Arabia may think that it should buy weapons but we do not need to purchase arms. We are manufacturing weapons and are capable of producing any type of weapons we need,” the Iranian president said.
“I think Saudi Arabia will not be able to use such weapons and will be forced to bring American advisors to its own region,” he added, according to Press TV.
Referring to the Arab Islamic American Summit, which convened in Saudi capital city of Riyadh on Sunday, Rouhani said that the gathering, which hosted 55 countries, was “just a show” without any political value.
“The Iraqi, Lebanese and Syrian nations have stood against terrorists and Iranian diplomats and advisors have been helping them,” the Iranian president added.
He said no one can claim that stability would be restored to the region without Iran’s role, adding, “The US administration has never fought terrorism, but the American people are certainly against terrorists and don’t want terrorism in the world.”
“We are waiting for the new US administration to reach a mental stability. American [officials] were wrong about our region,” Rouhani said and expressed hope that the US administration would consider the interests of its own people.
Answering a question, Rouhani described relations between Iran and the United States as “a tortuous road” over the past 40 years, saying, “The Americans have applied different types of methods against Iran and have always suffered a defeat and been unsuccessful.”
The US will face defeat once again if it refuses to respect the Iranian nation, he added.
In response to another question, Rouhani said violence and extremism posed serious dangers to the Middle East and the entire world, adding, “The era of meddling in others’ internal affairs, the era of war against other countries and the era of giving money to terrorist groups has come to an end.”
He noted that terrorism has been gradually receding over the recent years, but the complete eradication of the ominous phenomenon requires more time.
Rouhani emphasized that all countries have reached an understanding that unity in the fight against terrorism is the right path, adding that Iran has been and would be in the forefront of the anti-terror campaign.