Trump: Iran must never be allowed to have nuclear arms

Trump delivers a speech to the Arab Islamic American Summit, at the King Abdulaziz Conference Center, Sunday, May 21, 2017, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (AP)

US President Donald Trump said Monday during a visit to Jerusalem that Iran must never be allowed to have nuclear weapons while also denouncing Tehran’s support for “terrorists”.

“Most importantly the United States and Israel can declare with one voice that Iran must never be allowed to possess a nuclear weapon -- never ever -- and must cease its deadly funding, training and equipping of terrorists and militias,” Trump said in remarks at Israeli President Reuven Rivlin’s residence.

“And it must cease immediately.”

In reaction, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday that Iran is ready for interaction with neighbors to restore stability and peace.

Trump’s remarks were his latest salvo against Iran since starting his first foreign trip after taking office.

On the first leg of his trip in Saudi Arabia, Trump lashed out at Iran, accusing it of fueling “the fires of sectarian conflict and terror” and calling for its international isolation.

Trump also said that the Saudi King Salman is seeking to achieve peace in the region.

Trump arrived in Tel Aviv earlier Monday and is due to hold talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later in the day.

He will meet Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday as he seeks ways to restart moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.

His criticism of Iran was sure to find a welcome audience among Israeli leaders who consider the Islamic republic their arch-enemy.

After a busy two days in Saudi Arabia, Trump is now attempting to revive stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Trump is on a nine-day trip through the Middle East and Europe that ends on Saturday after visits to the Vatican, Brussels and Sicily.

The president had received a warm welcome from Arab leaders, who focused on his desire to crack down on Iran's influence in the region, a commitment they found wanting in the Republican president's Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama.

On Sunday, Saudi King Salman and Trump spoke of cooperation between the Muslim world and the US in order to halt terrorism and extremism in the world at the Arab-Islamic-American summit in Riyadh on Sunday.

“We will cooperate in ending terrorism and extremism in all its shapes and forms,” the king said, “Islam was and will continue to be a religion of tolerance and peace.”

Trump used his visit to Riyadh to bolster US ties with Arab and Islamic nations, announce $110 billion in US arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and send Iran a tough message.

In his speech attended by dozens of Arab and Islamic leaders, he toned down the harsh anti-Muslim rhetoric he had employed during the presidential campaign last year in favor of trying to gain cooperation against Islamist militants.

"A better future is only possible if your nations drive out the terrorists and drive out the extremists. Drive them out," Trump said.

Trump said he was “honored to be received by such gracious hosts, King Salman, continuing King Abdulaziz’s legacy.”

WATCH: Donald Trump's speech at the US-Islamic summit

“I bring the message of love from the US - that is why I chose Saudi Arabia for the first foreign trip. US vision is one of peace, security and prosperity in the Middle East region and throughout the world.”

The Saudi king announced a landmark agreement with the US to track and target sources of terrorist financing.

Trump said that the “Iranian regime is responsible for so much instability in the region,” and that it “funds arms, trains militias that spread destruction and chaos.”

King Salman also spoke of how “the Iranian regime has spearheaded terrorism since Khomenei’s revolution.”

The Arab-Islamic-American Summit kick started in the Saudi capital Riyadh with more than with 50 leaders from the Muslim world participating.

(With AFP, Reuters)

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:48 - GMT 06:48
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