Rouhani warns against US embassy relocation, blasts Israel for destabilizing Mideast
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has warned the US against relocating its Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds, saying the “illegal” move would further destabilize Palestine and the region.
During a phone conversation with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday, Rouhani called on Islamic states to join hands in opposing the “dangerous” move by the administration of US President Donald Trump.
“We believe, given the current conditions, all Islamic nations must become united and take a serious step in countering this wrong, illegal, provocative and gravely dangerous move by the US,” Rouhani said.
“There is no doubt that Israel is responsible for all the insecurity and instability [in the region],” he added.
The two leaders spoke as Trump was due to make an announcement later in the day on whether he would renew a six-month waiver on the relocation of the US diplomatic mission in Israel, a decision that the US Congress made in 1995 but all of his successors have deferred ever since.
Israel lays claim to the entirety of Jerusalem al-Quds as its “capital” while Palestinians want its eastern part as the capital of a future state for themselves.
Palestinian leaders have warned that the potential relocation would fuel strong reaction in the region and deliver a death blow to any prospect of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Describing the issue of Palestine and countering Israeli plots as “priorities” for the Islamic world, the Iranian head of state invited all “peace-loving” nations to “resist” the Tel Aviv regime’s “wrongful measures.”
Rouhani also thanked Erdogan for making the phone call and accepted his invitation for an emergency summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul.
Erdogan, in response, expressed concern over Trump’s pending announcement and said the American head of state’s “insolence” was due to the “internal discord” between the Islamic nations.
Warning that Washington’s move would “ratchet up tensions and lead to bad incidents,” the Turkish leader said, adding that “the Islamic world needs to express its unity and integrity on this issue.”
Meanwhile, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a tweet on Wednesday that Jerusalem al-Quds will always keep its Arab and Islamic identity.
The tweet, written in Arabic, Zarif took a jab at some regional countries for neglecting the issue of Palestine and funding terrorism and sectarianism.
He noted that if half of the money spent on sponsoring terror had been spent on the liberation of Palestine, Washington wouldn’t be so selfish now.
The Iranian top diplomat said Washington, which has no proprietary right, was executing a plan on behalf of somebody else who had no such right either.
In anticipation of Trump’s move, 151 members of the UN General Assembly voted last week to adopt a rare resolution that denounced Israel as the “occupying power” of Jerusalem al-Quds, a city that is holy to Muslims, Christians, and Jews alike.
The city has seen heightened tensions since 2015, when the Israeli military introduced restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque — Islam’s third holiest site.
Over 300 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli soldiers ever since.