Rouhani says Iran’s regional status has never been stronger

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani
Updated 24 October 2017
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Rouhani says Iran’s regional status has never been stronger

TEHRAN: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday Iran’s position in the Middle East had never been stronger but that the regime was at risk unless infighting between political factions was curbed.
“The greatness of the nation of Iran in the region is more than at any other time,” Rouhani said in a speech in Tehran, carried by the state broadcaster.
Rouhani did not directly respond to comments on Sunday by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who called on Iran-backed forces fighting militants in Iraq to “go home.”
But despite its powerful position in the region, Rouhani said Iran’s regime was under threat from fierce infighting between conservatives and moderates at home.
“We should not think that damaging one part of the system will strengthen the other part. No, the whole system will collapse,” he said.
There has been renewed criticism from hard-liners over the nuclear deal Rouhani’s administration signed with world powers.
On Sunday, state television read out in its entirety a letter by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei from 2015 in which he warned against trusting the US and other signatories to the deal.
Although the accord was explicitly endorsed by Khamenei, hard-liners have consistently lambasted Rouhani for going too far in his efforts to rebuild ties with the West.
Those criticisms have become more pointed in recent days as US President Donald Trump has thrown the nuclear deal’s future into doubt, calling for renewed sanctions to rein in Iran’s build-up of influence, particularly in Iraq and Syria.
But Rouhani said his US counterpart was failing in his efforts to undermine the deal.
“Every day (Trump) says this agreement is the worst deal in history. As he put it, it is shameful for America. But still, he hasn’t been able to do anything with this agreement,” Rouhani said.


Boat carrying Syrian refugees sinks off Lebanon, most rescued

Updated 22 September 2018
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Boat carrying Syrian refugees sinks off Lebanon, most rescued

  • The boat was ferrying the refugees illegally to Cyprus
  • Most were rescued by the Lebanese army but at least one child drowned

BEIRUT: A boat with around three dozen Syrian refugees on board sank off the coast of Lebanon on Saturday and most were rescued by the Lebanese army but at least one child drowned, security sources said.
The boat was ferrying the refugees illegally to Cyprus, some 180 km (110 miles) away, when it foundered off the coast of northern Lebanon, the sources said. Three more of the people on boat were in a serious condition in hospital.
Lebanon is hosting around 1 million registered refugees from Syria’s civil war, according to the UN refugee agency UNHCR. The Lebanese government puts the figure at around 1.5 million.