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US urges Rouhani to end ballistic missile tests

RIYADH: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Saturday urged Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to dismantle Tehran’s “network of terrorism” and end ballistic missile testing, in Washington’s first reaction to his re-election.

“What I would hope, is that Rouhani… use that (new) term to begin a process of dismantling Iran’s network of terrorism, dismantling its financing of the terrorist network, dismantling the manning and the logistics and everything that they provide to these destabilising forces that exist in this region,” Tillerson said in Riyadh.

“We also hope that he puts an end to their ballistic missile testing,” Tillerson said at a joint press conference with his Saudi counterpart, on the first day of a visit by President Donald Trump to Saudi Arabia.

Tillerson also urged Rouhani to restore to Iranians the “freedom of speech and organisation”.

Rouhani won 57 percent of the vote, scoring a convincing victory over hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi on 38.3 percent.

Jubeir said the elections in the Islamic republic were an “internal Iranian matter”, in an attempt not to comment.

“Who they choose for their president is their business, as it should be. From our perspective we judge Iran by its actions, not by its words,” he added.

Shiite-dominated Iran is the arch rival of Sunni heavyweight Saudi Arabia, which along with other Gulf monarchies accuse Tehran of meddling in their internal affairs.

In his first televised statement after re-election, Rouhani took an apparent dig at Riyadh.

“Our people have declared to neighbouring countries and the whole region that the path to ensuring security is the reinforcement of democracy and not relying on foreign powers,” he said.



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