In his parliament speech on Tuesday 23 May, the Speaker of the Islamic Consultative Assembly (parliament), Ali Larijani, accused Saudi Arabia of being “the hub for exporting terrorists”.
“The Americans, announcing Riyadh a center for fighting terrorism was appropriate because the center of terrorism is there”.
The Speaker, while claiming that “Iran is spreading democracy in the region”, reiterated that he “felt sorry for the king of Saudi Arabia, [Salman], who has accused Iran of interfering in the internal affairs of the countries of the region.”
Larijani, in his vitriolic speech, criticized Washington’s policy in the region and directly addressed President Donald Trump: “You have taken money from Saudi government to partake in [the Islamic American] meeting is interesting,” Iranian local news agencies reported.
All major news agencies published long articles on Larijani’s speech, with extensive direct quotes. This can be a sign that the Islamic Republic wanted to convey its views via the speaker of parliament. Earlier, President Hassan Rouhani, foreign minister Javad Zarif and other officials had already criticized the US and Saudi Arabia.
The speaker went further by saying that the amount of 500 billion dollars that Saudis have paid Washington to revive U.S. economy, should be spent for the development and progress of the countries in the region.
The speech was a direct reaction to Donald Trump’s first overseas visit as the US President.
President Trump, during a landmark speech on May 21 in Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh, called for a “coalition of nations” in the middle East with the aim of “stamping out extremism”.
In his address to the Arab-Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, Trump also blamed Iran of funding, arming and training Shi’ite militias that have spread “destruction and chaos” in the region.