Trump tells Middle East to 'drive out' extremists

In his speech to 55 leaders of Muslim countries, Mr Trump described the challenge of terrorism as "a battle between good and evil".

The America-first president called on Muslim leaders there to eliminate what he calls the "foot soldiers of evil".

But Rohani said stability in the Middle East without Iran's help was impossible and accused the United States of "lacking knowledge" of the region.

Trump sounded conciliatory notes, saying that he came to "deliver a message of friendship and hope", and "that is why I chose to make my first foreign visit a trip to the heart of the Muslim world, to the nation that serves as custodian of the two holiest sites in the Islamic Faith".

Trump expressed respect for Islam and made a welcomed distinction, which he does not make at home, between terrorists and Muslims. It is the centre of Sunni Islam, the largest Islamic sect; it is among the world's richest nations and leading petroleum producer; and it's a state that fights Islamic radicalism and terrorism for survival while ironically propagating a vein in Islam - Wahabism - from which Islamists draw sustenance.

In a statement following the meeting, Mr Trump addressed his meetings the previous day with Arab and Muslim leaders in Saudi Arabia, and said that there is growing realisation that they share a goal with Israel in their determination to defeat extremism and deter "the threat posed by Iran".

"It [Iran's] is a government that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing the destruction of Israel, death to America, and ruin for many leaders and nations in this room", said Trump in his speech, Financial Times reported.

Under political fire at home, U.S. President Donald Trump sealed a $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia on Saturday on his maiden foreign trip as he struggled to shift attention from the aftermath of his firing of the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. There was none of the anti-Islamic rhetoric that Mr Trump has readily espoused before last November's presidential election. Mr Trump offered few indications of whether he planned to shift United States policy to better-fight terrorism. "This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life and decent people, all in the name of religion - people that want to protect life and want to protect their religion. Drive them out! Drive them out of your places of worship, drive them out of your communities, drive them out of your holy land and drive them out of this earth", the president said.

Zarif further insinuated that the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center were carried out by the Saudi Arabia and hence, advised Trump to work out a deal with Riyadh to prevent such an attack from happening in the future, Reuters reported.

  • Zachary Reyes