SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – David Cameron is to hold the first bilateral talks between a British prime minister and an Iranian president since the 1979 revolution when he has a face to face meeting with President Hassan Rouhani in the next two days in New York. The meeting, a significant thaw in diplomatic relations between the countries, is designed to explore the support the Iranians can give to the fight against Islamic State (Isis) in Iraq and Syria.
Rouhani has been a fierce critic of Isis, but has derided the US air strikes campaign as it involves no commitment to ground forces. Cameron is expected to make clear that Isis is a common and extremely serious threat that can only be tackled in Iraq and that Iran must drop its support for President Assad, who, in the words of Downing Street, has “created the conditions that have allowed terrorism to flourish”.
Speaking in Tehran before his visit to the UN, Rouhani questioned Barack Obama’s decision to go after Isis with air strikes. “Are Americans afraid of giving casualties on the ground in Iraq? Are they afraid of their soldiers being killed in the fight they claim is against terrorism?” Rouhani said.
“If they want to use planes and if they want to use unmanned planes so that nobody is injured from the Americans, is it really possible to fight terrorism without any hardship, without any sacrifice? Is it possible to reach a big goal without that? In all regional and international issues, the victorious one is the one who is ready to do sacrifice.
“Maybe it is necessary for air strikes in some conditions and some circumstances,” he added. “However, air strikes should take place with the permission of the people of that country and the government of that country.”