Iranian president blames West for creating jihadists

President Hassan Rouhani of Iran delivered a searing indictment of Western and Arab states on Thursday in his annual speech to the United Nations, blaming them for sowing the seeds of extremism in the Middle East with “strategic blunders” that have given rise to the Islamic State and other violent jihadist groups.
“Certain intelligence agencies have put blades in the hands of madmen, who now spare no one,” Mr. Rouhani said, adding that “all those who have played a role in founding and supporting these terror groups must acknowledge their errors” and apologize.
He also used the occasion to denounce the Western-led sanctions imposed on Iran’s nuclear program and reiterated his government’s desire to resolve Iran’s protracted dispute with the United States and other nations over the program.
He implied that the nuclear negotiations were linked to Iran’s cooperation in combating the Islamic State and its affiliates, saying that no security cooperation was possible until the sanctions were lifted.
“The people of Iran, who have been subjected to pressures especially in the last three years as a result of continued sanctions, cannot place trust in any security cooperation between their government with those who have imposed sanctions and created obstacles in the way of satisfying even their primary needs, such as food and medicine,” he said.
Mr. Rouhani’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly, his second as Iran’s president, began by striking some of the same notes that his counterparts from the United States and Europe struck on Wednesday regarding the rise of the Islamic State, the militant group that now controls parts of Syria and Iraq. President Obama, in his speech on Wednesday, called on all nations to unite in a concerted effort to destroy the group, which is also known as ISIS or ISIL.
Mr. Rouhani denied that Iran sought to control other nations in the region, calling that belief “delusional Iranophobia,” and reminded the world that Iran was among the first countries to assist Iraq in June, when Islamic State fighters invaded from neighboring Syria.
He said the extremist group and its affiliates, which have drawn recruits from around the world, do not represent the true teachings of Islam.
“I am struck that these murderous groups call themselves Islamic,” he said.

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