Iran's Rouhani, Hezbollah’s Nasrallah urge regional unity after US move on Golan Heights

Iranian president: ‘The excessive demands of the Zionist regime and the wrong decisions of Washington necessitate closer cooperation among regional countries;’ Nasrallah: ‘Trump emboldened by Arab silence after US recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that regional countries must unite to fight against US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize the Golan Heights as part of Israel, in a phone call with Iraq’s prime minister on Tuesday.

“The excessive demands of the Zionist regime and the wrong decisions of Washington necessitate closer cooperation among regional countries,” Rouhani was quoted as saying by the state broadcaster IRIB in a phone call with Iraq’s Adel Abdul Mahdi. Rouhani said developments in the Golan Heights were “very dangerous for regional security”.

Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah movement, and a key Damascus ally, said the move was evidence of US “disdain and disregard” for the Arab and Muslim world and of international law.”This absolute supporter of Israel cannot be a sponsor of the peace process and here he is today dealing a deadly blow to the so-called peace process,” Nasrallah said in a televised speech.Nasrallah said Trump had been emboldened by Arab “silence” after US recognition last year of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and warned that the West Bank, also captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, could be next.

“We must expect that it is a matter of time before Trump says that he recognizes Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank, in accordance with the will of the Zionists of course; they claim that it is their eternal homeland,” said Nasrallah.“There is something called the Arab Peace initiative, although Israel doesn’t recognize it. If there remains any dignity in the world, then the Tunisia Summit must issue a declaration that the initiative is cancelled and is off the table and go back to square one,” he continued. “I am not saying that we must embark on a war, no, that is not a sensible political move.”The militia leader then reiterated that in order to reclaim land and their dignity from Israel, the Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian people must continue to “resist, resist, resist.”On Monday, President Trump, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looking over his shoulder during a visit to Washington, signed a proclamation officially granting US recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory.

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Six Day War and annexed it in 1981, in a move the unrecognized by most of the world.President Trump’s decision over the Golan Heights united Washington’s Arab allies and their regional foe Iran in condemnation on Tuesday.Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait criticized Monday’s move to recognize Israel’s 1981 annexation and said the territory was occupied Arab land. Riyadh and Abu Dhabi said it was an impediment to peace.Iran echoed the comments, describing Trump’s decision as unprecedented this century.”No one could imagine that a person in America comes and gives land of a nation to another occupying country, against international laws and conventions,” President Hassan Rouhani was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.”It will have significant negative effects on the peace process in the Middle East and the security and stability of the region,” said a statement on Saudi state news agency SPA.It described the declaration as a clear violation of the United Nations Charter and of international law.Trump’s special adviser Jared Kushner visited the Gulf Arab region last month to seek support for the economic portion of a long-awaited peace proposal for the Middle East. Gulf Arab states host US troops and are important for Washington’s regional defense policy.

Qatar, which has been at loggerheads with other Gulf states over its policies, joined them in rejecting Trump’s move and called on Israel to end its occupation of the Golan Heights and comply with international resolutions.

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