Rohani at UN: Nuclear Israel Is Greatest Threat to the Mideast, Its Treatment of Palestinians Is 'Apartheid'

Iranian president says it's ironic that U.S. doesn't conceal regime change plans while inviting Iran to talks ■ Bolton speech warns of 'hell to pay' for any act against U.S. or its allies

Iranian President Hassan Rohani addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, September 25, 2018.
Mary Altaffer,AP

Iranian President Hassan Rohani told the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday that  Israel the greatest threat in the Middle East and said its treatment of Palestinians is "apartheid."

He said that Israel's possession of nuclear weapons is a danger to the entire region, and that American support has allowed Israel to commit "crimes against the Palestinians." The Iranian president also called Trump's decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem "ugly."

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Rohani said Iran fought against Al-Qaida and ISIS long before Western nations joined the fight against those organizations. 

"From the very beginning of the crisis in Syria, we have warned against any foreign intervention in the internal affairs of this country and the use of unlawful means and have consistently emphasized that the crisis can only be resolved through intra-Syrian dialogue," Rohani said, adding that "Iran, Russia, and Turkey, in cooperation with the government of Syria and other Syrian parties met in Tehran earlier this month and through the Astana Process, succeeded in reducing tensions in Syria, specially preventing escalation and bloodshed in the Idlib region."

Rohani that it is ironic that the U.S. government does not even conceal its plans for overthrowing the same government it invites to talks.

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Rohani said that the Trump administration is determined to make all international forums "ineffectual" and is trying to initiate regime change in Iran, despite its denials of doing so. Rohani asked how can Iran enter into an agreement with a U.S. administration that violates the policies of its predecessor.

Rohani said U.S. policy toward Iran has been wrong from the beginning, adding that its approach of resisting the wishes of the Iranian people is doomed to fail. "No state and nation can be brought to the negotiating table by force," Rohani said.

He said that beginning dialogue starts with ending threats and unjust sanctions that negate the principles of ethics and international law, adding that what Iran calls for is clear: no war, no sanctions, no threats, no bullying - just acting according to the law and the fulfilment of obligations. He continued that what Iran proposes is clear: commitment for commitment, violation for violation, threat for threat and step for step instead of "talk for talk."

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Also Wednesday U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton warned Iran of "hell to pay" for any actions against the U.S. or its allies.

"The days of impunity for Tehran and its enablers are over," Bolton said. "The murderous regime and its supporters will face significant consequences if they do not change their behavior. Let my message today be clear: We are watching, and we will come after you."

Trump sharply cricized Iran during his address at the UN earlier Tuesday, saying that "every solution to the humanitarian crisis in Syria must include a strategy to address the corrupt dictatorship in Iran. Iran’s leaders sow chaos, death and destruction in Syria," Trump said, adding that "they do not respect their neighbors and borders. Iran’s leaders plunder the nation’s resources to spread mayhem across the Middle East and far beyond."

>>FULL TEXT: Donald Trump's address at the 2018 UN General Assembly

"The dictatorship used the funds released by the deal to finance terrorism and fund havoc and slaughter in Syria and Yemen," Trump said. 

"We will deny the regime the funds it needs to advance its bloody agenda. We reimposed hard hitting sanctions that were lifted. More sanctions will follow. We are working with countries that import Iranian oil to cut their purchase substantially," he said, adding that  "we cannot allow a regime that chants death to America and that threatens Israel, to possess the means to deliver a nuclear warhead to any city in the world."