“You say you stay in Iraq to watch Iran, while before that you were saying you stay there for fighting terrorism. It is so nice that you honestly expressed yourself!” Rouhani said, cited by Bloomberg.
Rouhani referenced Trump’s recent interview with CBS News’ “Face the Nation”, where the president said the US has an “incredible base” in Iraq that he intends to keep, in order “to be able to watch Iran.”
“You are in Afghanistan for the same purpose. You want to watch, whether Iran or Russia and China,” the Iranian president added.
The President of Iraq also rejected Trump's remarks, noting that the US does not have permission to use the country as a listening station.
Rouhani also claimed the US would never dominate Iran in the way it did before the 1979 Iranian Revolution — the 40th anniversary of which Iran is celebrating this year.
Trump, who has taken a hardline stance on Iran, previously accused the Islamic Republic of playing a destabilizing role in the region. In 2018 the United States reinstated sanctions against Iran following Washington's withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in May. The first round of sanctions came into force in August, followed by a second round that specifically targeted Iran's oil exports in November.