At a campaign rally in North Carolina on 8 September, President Donald Trump praised Washington-brokered deals to normalise relations between Israel and two Gulf states, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, while also saying that the US was not involved in the Middle East for oil, but because “we want to protect Israel.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has denounced US leaders for ruining the West Asia region and slammed ‘Israel Firsters’ for betraying their own people while seeking to offer wide-ranging support for Israel.
Zarif tweeted that US President Donald Trump’s recent statements showed “where his family’s loyalty really rests.”
Latest admissions by @realDonaldTrump:
-Where his family’s loyalty really rests
-Why SEVEN TRILLION hard-earned US taxpayer dollars & so many American lives have been sacrificed.#IsraelFirsters have not just ruined our region—they’ve betrayed their own people, just for votes. pic.twitter.com/dcpZTucyxP
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) September 17, 2020
Zarif was referencing comments made by Trump at a rally in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on 8 September.
As Donald Trump, who is seeking reelection for a second term in the upcoming November ballot, touted America’s energy independence, he said:
“While I’m President, America will remain the number one producer of oil and natural gas in the world. We will remain energy independent. It should be for many, many years to come. The fact is, we don’t have to be in the Middle East, other than we want to protect Israel. We’ve been very good to Israel. Other than that, we don’t have to be in the Middle East.”
— TrumpNation2020 (@TrumpNationDA) September 9, 2020
Zarif emphasised that the United States had spent more than seven trillion dollars on its presence in the Middle East, asking why US “taxpayers’ dollars had been sacrificed” to protect Israel, underscoring that the American administration had “betrayed their own people, just for votes.”
Donald Trump timed the remarks to coincide with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, in what was perceived as an effort to woo the votes of the country’s Jews in the run-up to the US presidential elections.
Zarif’s tweet also incorporated parts of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency’s coverage of Trump’s speech at the rally in North Carolina, highlighting the moment when he lauded pulling the US out of a 2015 international nuclear accord with Iran, also called the Iran Nuclear Deal, or JCPOA.
Donald Trump mentioned Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin ‘Bibi’ Netanyahu and former US President Barack Obama at this point, saying:
“I remember Bibi coming over and begging him, begging him to a point of humiliation that please don’t do the Iran deal,” Trump said, referring to the nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic.
“He did it. I broke it,” said Trump, triggering a roar of approval amongst his supporters at the gathering.
The US president also extolled the achievements of his top advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner, who earlier brokered deals to normalise relations between Israel and two Arab states: the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain.
The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed US-facilitated deals, dubbed the Abraham Accords, with Israel on 15 September in a formal ceremony in Washington to normalise diplomatic ties.
The agreement signed with the UAE is a peace treaty for establishing diplomatic ties and the full normalisation of relations with the Jewish state, while the agreement with Bahrain is a declaration of peace.
The Palestinian Authority leadership slammed the act as treacherous and a betrayal of the Palestinian cause. The President of the PA, Mahmoud Abbas, insisted that “no peace” with Israel was possible as long as it continues its “occupation” of Palestinian lands.