President Hassan Rouhani warned the United States to end its military intervention in the region, saying such a withdrawal will both help restore regional security and serve Washington’s own interests.
According to Press TV, Rouhani said at a government meeting on Wednesday the “intolerable” insecurity currently afflicting the region menaces Asia, Europe, and even America itself as it can lead to all sorts of incidents.
The American forces in the region are today faced with insecurity, which may come to threaten the European troops as well in the near future, he added.
“Restore this security. We want you to leave the region…not by means of war, but by taking the wise move [to do so],” he said. “You [yourself] will stand to benefit from this. Go down the path that benefits the region and the entire world,” the president added.
He also touched on the Islamic Republic’s Wednesday strikes against US bases in western and northern Iraq, which came in retaliation for the US drone strikes that had assassinated revered senior Iranian Commander, Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, among others, in Baghdad on January 3.
“Lt. General Soleimani’s martyrdom will not go unanswered. The answer was given in the military area,” he said, noting that the strikes that hit the US’s Ain al-Assad Airbase in Iraq’s Anbar Province showed that “we do not back down in the face of the US and will surely respond to their crime.”
‘Plane crash error should not happen again’
Rouhani also addressed the human error that caused the downing of a Ukrainian passenger aircraft shortly after take-off from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini airport last week.
The crash came after the aircraft was mistaken for an incoming cruise missile, while a communication breakdown prevented the operator from obtaining the permission required for the launch. It killed all the 176 people on board.
“Our people and the word should be assured that this incident is not repeatable,” the president asserted.
Rouhani said the General Staff of the Armed Forces took a “good step” in announcing the cause of the tragedy afterwards, but the Armed Forces have to follow it up with rectifying measures.
“A final step,” he added, would be making sure that the mistake would not happen again.
However, any measure aimed at making up for the error should not serve to weaken the Armed Forces, he said. “We need and will always need our Armed Forces.”