By Faruk Zorlu
ANKARA (AA) – Iran’s Foreign Minister sharply criticized U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday for pledging to stand by Saudi Arabia despite its role in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
"Mr. Trump bizarrely devotes the FIRST paragraph of his shameful statement on Saudi atrocities to accuse IRAN of every sort of malfeasance he can think of," Javad Zarif said on Twitter.
“The country of Iran, as an example, is responsible for a bloody proxy war against Saudi Arabia in Yemen, trying to destabilize Iraq’s fragile attempt at democracy, supporting the terror group Hezbollah in Lebanon, propping up dictator Bashar Assad in Syria (who has killed millions of his own citizens), and much more. Likewise, the Iranians have killed many Americans and other innocent people throughout the Middle East,” Trump said in the statement, which was released by the White House.
It came in the wake of a report in which the CIA concluded with high confidence that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi's killing.
Zarif also ridiculed the statement, alluding to recent comments by Trump while touring a fire-devastated town in California in which he claimed Finland’s president had told him the European country prevented wildfires in part by raking their forests.
"Perhaps we’re also responsible for the California fires, because we didn’t help rake the forests— just like the Finns do?"
Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and columnist for The Washington Post, went missing after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.
After initially saying he left the consulate alive, the Saudi administration admitted weeks later he was killed there.
His body has yet to be returned to his family amid reports that it was chemically dissolved.