After U.S. and Israeli moves to further destabilize the Middle East, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani Thursday called on Middle Eastern states to unite against U.S. and Israeli moves that further disrupt the region.
Flanked by top generals during a military parade yesterday marking National Army Day, Rouhani said the U.S. and its ally Israel were the root cause of the region's problems. "The region's nations have lived alongside each other for centuries and never had a problem... If there is a problem, it is caused by others," Rouhani said, speaking as troops paraded in a show of might. "Let us stand together, be together and rid the region of the aggressor's presence."
Rouhani assured neighboring countries that Iran's armed forces are "never against you or your national interests" but are "standing against the aggressors." "The power of our armed forces is the power of the region's countries, the Islamic world," he said. "If we have a problem in the region today, its roots are either with Zionism or America's arrogance."
Iran showcased domestically made fighter jets by flying the aircraft over Tehran during yesterday's military parade as the country grapples with U.S. sanctions and the Trump administration's recent terrorism designation for Iran's powerful paramilitary force. TV footage showed the aircraft performing during the parade, including the latest all-Iranian fighter jet dubbed Kowsar. The parade also showcased the Saegheh (Thunderbolt), another domestically built fighter in Iran's air force, which already has U.S.-made F-4, F-5 and F-14 fighter jets and Russian-made Sukhoi aircraft in service.
Since U.S. President Donald Trump took office, he has been accusing Iran and its proxies of financing terror groups and posing a national security threat to the U.S. Similarly, Israel has gradually hardened its tone against Iran, even targeting some Iranian positions in Syria.
The U.S. has designated Iran's Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization, a move that formally took effect on Monday and is meant to increase pressure on Iran, isolate it further and prompt authorities to divert some of the financial resources Tehran uses to fund militant activity in the Middle East and beyond. It prompted Iranian lawmakers a day later to overwhelmingly approve a bill labeling U.S. forces in the Middle East as terrorists and labeling America a "supporter of terrorism." The guard's designation, the first-ever for an entire division of another government, adds another layer of sanctions to the powerful paramilitary force and makes it a crime under U.S. jurisdiction to provide it with material support.
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