Hassan Rouhani: The security that God has given us, made possible with sacrifices of people, fighters of Islam, armed forces and the security forces. Now you look at our region and these countries that surround us: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and even southern countries of the Gulf that are apparently not unsafe. One of the leaders of these southern countries in the Gulf told me that they pay 9 billion dollars to the U.S. for its presence in the region. Now instead of paying them for its presence in this strategic region and renting the base from them and paying them for following its own illegal interests in the region, the U.S. both interferes and swindles them. That gentleman also told me that Trump had called him and said, ‘this money isn’t enough; what is 9 or 10 billion dollars? Look at your own resources and you must give a large part of it to us.’ He told me in private that this man is stupid and insane (well, these are his words). As you see, a country submits to a superpower and pays them extortion from the oil money of its people and give money to a superpower from the country’s treasury so that that superpower, in appearance, would preserve that country, and, in actuality, would be able to help one of those notorious governments to continue [to stay in power].
[Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the U.S. presence in the region and its relations with regional countries.]