Iran's foreign minister scorns Trump after speech, arms deal

Andrew Cummings
May 27, 2017

Saudi Arabia was the initial stop on Trump's first foreign trip since inauguration, a tour that includes a visit to Israel, the Palestinian territories, Rome and Brussels. "But for the first time in many years - and, Mr. President, for the first time in my lifetime - I see a real hope for change". There will still be critics on issues like human rights and Yemen, but the president had a different focus - and nearly certainly the right one. He did not quite repeat his buzzphrase "radical Islamic terrorism", which he has insisted is the most honest description of the greatest threat facing the USA, but he did talk about "Islamic terror of all kinds", words which fell like lead on the sumptuously-carpeted chamber in Riyadh.

The first daughter, along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, proposed the idea for the $1 billion fund to the World Bank, USA Today reported. "Our goal is a coalition of nations who share the aim of stamping out extremism and providing our children a hopeful future that does honor to God".

Trump called Islam "one of the world's greatest faiths", while also dismissing "Islamists" as the "footsoldiers of evil".

Later, sitting next to Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, Mr Trump said the two will discuss "the purchase of lots of lovely military equipment, because nobody makes it like the United States". He mentioned the positive character of one strategic partner after another - reinforcing the importance of the USA strategic partnership with that country in the process.

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Politicians from both parties knocked President Donald Trump on Sunday for not making a forceful case for human rights during a speech in Saudi Arabia. He avoided phrases like "Islamic extremism", but repeatedly made it clear that the USA would focus on the threats posed by "terrorists and extremists".

"There can be no coexistence with this violence". "Drive them out of your places of worship. Drive them out of your communities!" "Drive them out of your holy land and drive them out of this Earth".

[It] means honestly confronting the crisis of Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups it inspires. They have borne the brunt of the killings and the worst of the destruction in this wave of fanatical violence... The victims of this terrorism have already included more Muslims than those of any other faith. It is a tragedy of epic proportions...

During an October debate, Trump also told Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, "Saudi Arabia giving $25 million, Qatar, all of these countries".


These are words that the vast majority of Muslims agree with, and ones that clearly rise above fear, prejudice, and isolationism. "They don't want to leave [Saudi Arabia] for jobs".

Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia, at the start of his first trip overseas as president, has produced a number of statements that run counter to the harsh, anti-Muslim rhetoric from his 2016 campaign.

Following a tumultuous ten-days for the president where he faced calls for impeachment from some democrats for sharing classified information with Russian Federation and a deepening crisis over his relationship with former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey, Mr Trump's team has been keen to cast Mr Trump as a credible global leader as he prepares to make a series of visits to potentially politically charged regions such as Israel, the Vatican and Brussels. "Bolstered by Iran, Assad has committed unspeakable crimes".

She noted that Trump on Saturday signed a $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, a key goal of the visit.


By 2030, over 50% of Saudi Arabia's military spending will be on domestic procurement, expertise, research, and development.

"For many centuries the Middle East has been home to Christians, Muslims and Jews living side-by-side". The US is effectively helping them become a growing power, strengthening their ability to spread their values in the region. Many of the Muslims nations in question are under serious duress and have a stake in cooperating with the U.S. Much will depend on the years and actions that follow.

"Israelis have noticed that he's very interested in the Palestinians, too", said Philip Gordon, Obama's coordinator for the Middle East who's now a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. This logic resonates in the Muslim world just as it does in America.

The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.


Anthony H. Cordesman holds the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC.

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