Iranian President Hassan Rouhani mocked President Barack Obama and ripped America’s strategy to destroy the terrorist group the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in an interview with NBC News Wednesday.
“Are Americans afraid of getting casualties on the ground in Iraq?” asked Rouhani, referring to the Obama administration’s crystal clear pledge that it will not send American combat troops to fight ISIS. “Are they afraid of their soldiers being killed in the fight they claim is against terrorism?”
“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?” he continued. “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.”
Rouhani, who called America’s coalition to defeat ISIS “ridiculous,” also subtly ridiculed Obama’s failure to enforce his own red lines, like the one he made in 2012 that if Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons against his own people, America would use military force against the strongman. After the Syrian regime used chemical weapons against its own people in 2013, Obama opted against air strikes after initially threatening to respond militarily.
“When we say the red line we mean the red line,” said Rouhani, whose Shia theocracy is also staunchly opposed to ISIS, a Sunni terror group. “It means we will not allow Baghdad to be occupied by the terrorists or the religious sites such as Karbala or Najaf be occupied by the terrorists.”