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Gulf region is ‘on the edge of collapse,’ Iranian President Rouhani warns world leaders

Gulf region is ‘on the edge of collapse,’ Iranian President Rouhani warns world leaders
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has told world leaders that the Gulf region is “on the edge of collapse, as a single blunder can fuel a big fire.” His warning comes amid tensions with Washington and Riyadh.

Speaking at the UN General Assembly in New York on Wednesday, Rouhani urged western nations against not to meddle in Iranian affairs. "We shall not tolerate the provocative intervention of foreigners,” he said, adding “we shall respond decisively and strongly to any sort of transgression and violation of our security and territorial integrity.”

Though tensions between Tehran and Washington have steadily risen since the US withdrew from the joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, or Iran Deal) last year, they have taken on a new, military dimension in recent months. A series of sabotage attempts on oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz earlier this summer led to an increased US presence in the waterway, while a recent attack on a pair of Saudi oil refineries led President Donald Trump to deploy US troops to the region last week. 

Yemeni Houthi rebels claim responsibility for the refinery strikes, and Iran denies all responsibility.

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Trump has insisted that he would “certainly like to avoid” war with Iran, and called on Tehran to come to the negotiating table in his own speech before the UN on Tuesday, albeit after dishing out his usual criticism to the Iranian government, accusing it of “bloodlust” and “menacing behavior.”

Rouhani shot down talks with America on Wednesday, telling leaders that as long as US sanctions remain in place, diplomacy is out of the question. “Our response to talks under pressure is no!,” he said, going on to criticize the European parties to the JCPOA of failing to honor their agreements under the deal and protect Iran from American sanctions.

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