TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - “Whatever country, which seeks to use its power to threaten another’s existence, has [in effect] threatened its own existence,” Rouhani told the 'International Conference on Combating Sand and Dust Storms (SDS): Challenges and Practical Solutions' in Tehran on Monday.
“Whatever country or power, which thinks it can use terrorism to advance its goals in the region and the world, is completely wrong,” he added.
“If [either] Saudi Arabia or the United States is harboring such thoughts, it is making a mistake. I don’t name Israel here as its entire political existence is made of mistakes, errors, occupation and invasion,” he added.
Rouhani said pursuing “win-win policies” is the sole way to “enable peaceful existence in West Asia and the Middle East,” which have witnessed numerous crises over the past years.
In today's world, Rouhani added, the approach focused on gaining a stronger regional hand must be set aside, stressing that “the goal should be [creating] a powerful region.”
Touching on the environmental woes gripping the region, Rouhani further said such issues should likewise be resolved through inter-governmental cooperation.
According to Rouhani, only 20 percent of the particle pollution and sand storms facing Iran’s southwest could be traced back to domestic sources, and the rest originates from abroad, Rouhani noted.
As part of its Southeastern Anatolia Project known as GAP, Turkey has built 22 dams on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, which also run across Syria and Iraq, and discharge into the Persian Gulf after merging into one river that forms a natural border between Iran and Iraq.
The project has reportedly reduced the water flow in the rivers’ basin by 34 percent and caused 94 percent of the Mesopotamia to dry up, kicking up dust storms in Syria and Iraq, which head towards Iran and cripple life in its southwestern and western provinces.
The Iranian chief executive said, “We should pursue such plans that would benefit Turkey, Iraq and Iran [alike]. We cannot act in a way that would benefit [only] one country and deny others [of their right to] water resources.”
More than 30 countries, which have been hardly hit by dust and sand storms, are attending the three-day conference, which opened in Tehran on Monday.
The United Nations and the Iranian Department of Environment are co-hosting the event.