Iran’s Khamenei, Rouhani issue sharply-contrasting responses to Trump’s visit

by WorldTribune Staff, May 28, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump’s $110 billion defense and weapons deal with Saudi Arabia prompted vastly different reactions from Iran’s top leaders.

While President Hassan Rouhani called for “more cooperation” with the Saudis in the wake of Trump’s May 20 visit, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei referred to the Saudis as “idiots” who were nothing more than “milk cows for the Americans.”

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, left, with President Hassan Rouhani.

Khamenei on May 27 said the Saudis were “idiots [who] believe that they can win the friendship of the enemies of Islam with money,” Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency reported.

The supreme leader added that Saudi leaders are “an inept and worthless bunch” who have the fate of a segment of the Muslim world in their hands.

“They act cordially toward the enemies of Islam while having the opposite behavior toward the Muslim people of Bahrain and Yemen,” Khamenei told a religious gathering marking the start of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, as reported by his Twitter account.

“They will face certain downfall,” he told the event.

Meanwhile, during a May 27 phone call with the emir of Qatar, Rouhani called for improved relations with Gulf Arab countries.

“We want the rule of moderation and rationality in the relations between countries and we believe that a political solution should be a priority,” Iranian state news agency IRNA quoted Rouhani as telling Qatari Sheikh Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.

“The countries of the region need more cooperation and consultations to resolve the crisis in the region and we are ready to cooperate in this field,” Rouhani told the emir.

Though Rouhani recently won re-election by a wide margin in the May 19 presidential election, Khamenei, as supreme ruler, holds ultimate power when deciding strategic affairs.