Iran’s Rohani: We Prevented Israel and the U.S. From Dividing Syria

Thousands marched in Tehran in commemoration of the Islamic revolution. President Rohani used the opportunity to remind Iranians who their enemies are: Israel and the U.S.

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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Iranian President Hassan Rohani gestures as members of Iranian armed forces take part in a rally marking the anniversary of Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution, in Tehran, Iran, February 11, 2018.
Iranian President Hassan Rohani gestures as members of Iranian armed forces take part in a rally marking the anniversary of Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution, in Tehran, Iran, February 11, 2018.Credit: \ HANDOUT/ REUTERS
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

Hundreds of thousands of people marched in Iran on Sunday to mark the 39th anniversary of the Islamic revolution. There, senior leaders of the Islamic republic exploited the occasion to make threats against Israel.

Iranian President Hassan Rohani told those assembled in Tehran’s central square, “They [the United States and Israel] wanted to create tension in the region; they wanted to divide Iraq and Syria; they wanted to create long-term chaos in Lebanon, but with our help – their policy has failed.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif described the downing of the Israeli warplane on Saturday as a move that brought about a change in policy toward “Israeli aggression.” The secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, said that Israel understood that the era of “hit and run” attacks has ended.

Shamkhani also addressed U.S. President Donald Trump’s promise that if the nuclear deal with Iran was not amended, the United States would withdraw from it. He stressed that the International Atomic Energy Agency had determined several times that Iran was upholding the agreement, and called on the United States and Europe to leave the agreement as it is. “Tehran will not agree to add or erase a single line from the agreement,” he said.

The commander of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, also said that the demonstrations staged in Iran two months ago to protest the cost of living did not worry the Iranian regime, which knew it would succeed in dealing with them. The only ones who were concerned about the consequences of the demonstrations were the Islamic republic’s allies. Sunday’s marches in Iran were meant as a show of strength and a united front by the regime in response to the earlier demonstrations.

The Iranians continued to send messages to Syria, with several media outlets in Lebanon quoting a senior Iranian official as saying that his country had prevented Syrian President Bashar Assad from quitting when it helped him defeat the Islamic State and other terror groups.

On Sunday U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson landed in Cairo, where he met Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi to discuss Iranian intervention in the Middle East. Later this week Tillerson will meet with the leaders of Jordan, Morocco, Kuwait and Turkey.

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