Donald Trump says Iran has helped commit 'unspeakable crimes' in Syria with Bashar al-Assad

He slammed Iran's government for its 'reckless pursuit of conflict and terror'

Rachael Revesz
Sunday 21 May 2017 16:10
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Donald Trump says Iran has helped commit 'unspeakable crimes' in Syria

Donald Trump has blamed Iran for supporting and aiding "unspeakable crimes" in Syria under its leader Bashar al-Assad.

Mr Trump, during his speech on combating violent extremism in Saudi Arabia, did not mention Syria's alliance with Russia to carry out air strikes.

Near the end of his speech in Riyadh about forging peace, he argued that Iran had provided Syria with "safe harbour, financial backing and the social standing needed for recruitment [of terrorists]".

"From Lebanon to Iraq and Yemen, Iran funds, arms and trains terrorists, militias and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region," he continued.

"For decades Iran has fuelled the fires of sectarian conflict and terror; it’s a government that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing the destruction of Israel, death to America, and ruin for many leaders and nations in this very room.

"Among Iran’s most tragic and destabilising interventions, you’ve seen it in Syria. Bolstered by Iran, [Bashar al] Assad has committed unspeakable crimes, and the United States has taken firm action in response to the use of banned chemical weapons by the Assad regime, launching 59 missiles at the Syrian air base from where that murderous attack originated."

Donald Trump joins sword dance in Saudi Arabia

The President was criticised for a "largely symbolic move" of launching dozens of Tomahawk cruise missiles at an air base last month without damaging an air strip and amassing a low death toll. Within hours, foreign planes were taking off from the same air base. Mr Trump was also accused of letting Russia know of its plans beforehand, and Russia may have informed Syria.

"The people of Iran have endured hardship and despair under their leader’s reckless pursuit of conflict and terror," Mr Trump continued.

Trump tells Middle East need to 'drive out' terrorism on their own

"Until the Iranian regime is willing to be a partner for peace, all nations of conscience must work together to isolate Iran, deny it funding for terrorism, cannot do it, and pray for the day when the Iranian people have the just and righteous government they so richly deserve."

Mr Trump's speech comes just days after he fired former FBI director James Comey whilst the agency was spearheading an investigation into Mr Trump's alleged ties to Russia before and after the campaign. which the President has denied.

Iran was included on the list of seven Muslim-majority countries that were impacted by Mr Trump's executive order to temporarily ban all immigrants and refugees from travelling to the US. The order was knocked down by federal courts.

The President vowed that he wanted to start a process for peace in the Middle East, but urged nations to "drive out" terrorists from Isis, al-Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah.

He said Middle Eastern nations must do their "fair share" and not expect the US to "crush the enemy for them".

Sam Husseini, communications director for the Institute of Public Accuracy, tweeted, "Iran just had election Saudi Arabia couldn't dream of, has invaded no one (unlike US) and Trump pretends it's the bad guy."

Mr Trump did also not mention atrocities committed in Yemen by Saudi Arabia. He has just signed a $107.9 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, which equates to an investment of more than $350 billion over ten years. He promised the Saudis during his speech that they would get a "good deal" from US defence companies.

He will travel to Jerusalem, Bethlehem and the Vatican before returning to the US.

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