Iran Calls on Muslim Countries Not to Depend on ‘Foreigners,’ and Focus on Yemen, Bahrain, Palestine

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani called on Tuesday for more solidarity between Muslim countries and for them not to depend on “foreigners” for their development, Times of Israel reports. His comments come after Washington threatened to withdraw from a landmark deal between Tehran and world powers that lifted crippling sanctions in exchange for curbs to Iran’s nuclear program.

“Only non-dependence on foreigners and increased solidarity between Muslim countries will allow us to overcome the Islamic world’s problems. We should… count on our own capacities to ensure growth and development. But this does not mean we should seek isolation,” Rouhani said at the opening in Tehran of a session of the parliamentary union of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Rouhani, who secured the 2015 nuclear deal, has come under fire from ultra-conservatives who believe the accord benefits only the West. The government has been trying to encourage European firms to do business with or invest in Iran.

“On an international level, we support constructive interaction on an equal footing… that leaves no room for exploitation, colonialism or interference in internal affairs,” he said.

Rouhani accused the West of believing that Islam and democracy are incompatible and of using this pretext to subject Muslim countries to a new colonialism.

“Reinforcing democracy and listening to people’s opinions are our primary strategy to face the West,” he added.

At the same time, the leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei called on the Islamic Ummah (community) to pay special attention to the ongoing developments in Muslim states, Palestine, Yemen and Bahrain in particular.

“There are important topics on the agenda of the conference, but some important issues are also missing. Issues on Yemen and Bahrain are important issues that caused deep injuries and need to be resolved. My advice to my brothers in the Muslim World is that we need to be clear on fundamental issues of the Muslim World in order to be able to create trends [that can increase awareness] and influence public opinion,” Ayatollah Khamenei asserted at the meeting with the participants of the 13th Conference dedicated to the Parliamentary Union of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

“Do not let them ignore you, and make the main issues of the Muslim World be ignored through a conspiracy of silence. The dangerous and horrendous Imperialism of Western media – which is dominated by Zionists – must not be allowed to make these issues be ignored,” Khamenei also stressed.

The Leader of the Islamic Revolution on Tuesday strongly criticized the United States for its recent move to recognize al-Quds (Jerusalem) as the capital of Israel, saying the dare to make this move was unseemly bold.

“They cannot do such a thing and their efforts will not bear results,” he said.

The U.S. adventure on Palestine will get nowhere, he said, underlining that “Palestine is a collection, a country, and a history. Palestine is from the river to the sea and al-Quds is without a doubt its capital.” He attached great importance to the issue of “Palestine” and “unity in the Islamic world”. Ayatollah Khamenei said the injustices against the Palestinians are “unprecedented in history” as their land was occupied, expelled in millions and subjected to cruelty.

“The Islamic world should play an influential role in important issues facing the world and “prevent bitter experiences of the past decades and domination of (great) powers to be repeated,” he stated.

In another part of his speech, Ayatollah Khamenei stated that Iran’s ready to act brotherly even with those among the Muslims who were once openly hostile to Iran.

“The World of Islam, with such a large population and plenty of facilities, can certainly create a great power within the world and become influential through unity. Such warmongering among the World of Islam must be stopped and we should not allow that a safe haven be created for the Zionist regime. We are ready to treat brotherly even those from among the Muslim world who were once hostile to us.”

“I believe that this struggle against the Zionist regime will bear fruit, just as the resistance has progressed today. There was a time when the Zionists chanted “From Nile to the Euphrates,” today they are building up walls around themselves so that they can protect themselves on that occupied land,” the Leader underlined.

Ayatollah Khamenei reminded that Palestine is a collective: a country and a history. Palestine extends from the river to the sea, and al-Quds (Jerusalem) is undoubtedly its capital. This recent move by the U.S. officials who have recently been acting more blatantly towards Quds won’t get anywhere and their moves won’t bear results.

“Like what the Saudis do. This is certainly a betrayal of the Islamic Ummah and the Muslim World,” the leader added, making a remark that the governments which help the United States and the Zionists are betraying.