Wed Sep 6, 2017 03:11PM
A Rohingya refugee from Myanmar's Rakhine state holds a baby after arriving at a refugee camp near the Bangladeshi town of Teknaf, September 5, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
A Rohingya refugee from Myanmar's Rakhine state holds a baby after arriving at a refugee camp near the Bangladeshi town of Teknaf, September 5, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has condemned Myanmar’s “brutal crimes” against Rohingya Muslims, calling on the Southeast Asian country’s leaders to immediately end the “inconceivable ethnic cleansing” of the religious minority.

“We are all aware of the plight of Rohingya Muslims,” the Iranian president told a cabinet meeting on Wednesday. “Tens of thousands—nearly 100,000— of people are either displaced or killed; their corpses are set on fire and so are their homes.”

“We call on the Myanmar government to end these brutal crimes and stop the army’s ongoing rampage,” Rouhani (pictured below) said.

Asking Myanmar’s neighboring countries to take action and be more welcoming to Rohingya refugees, the president also underscored the United Nations' role in resolving the crisis.

Myanmar's security forces have long been attacking Rohingyas and torching their villages since October 2016, in a bid to push them out of the western state of Rakhine. The attacks have been intensified since August 25, with State Counselor Aung San Suu Ky ignoring international demands to call off the operation.

Thousands of Rohingyas have already fled their homeland to take refuge in Bangladesh. Many people have been killed during the perilous boat journeys on the Naf River, which separates the two neighboring countries.

The refugees have also tried to cross the border into Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

'Iran ready to organize international efforts'

During the cabinet meeting, the Iranian president highlighted the responsibilities of Islamic nations in the face of such crises plaguing the Muslim world, and said Tehran was ready to bring together Islamic governments and other Asian countries and take on a central role at the UN in order to help Rohingyas break free from the violence.

“As Muslims, and as a revolutionary country, we should feel obligated to support the oppressed everywhere even if they are non-Muslims,” he added.

We are ready "to provide Rohingyas with diplomatic and humanitarian support,” Rouhani added. “Our Red Crescent Society is also prepared to help them.”

Meanwhile, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani doubled down on Tehran’s stance and condemned the “dreadful” display of silence by “self-proclaimed defenders of human rights” and some international organizations. 

He also called on the UN to send a fact-finding mission to Myanmar and establish a channel for much-needed humanitarian aid.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has already discussed the situation with Turkish, Malaysian and Indonesian leaders and is planning more meetings with his counterparts in other Islamic countries.

Threatening North Korea with war 'dangerous game'

Rouhani also spoke to his ministers about the simmering tensions between North Korea and the US, and warned Washington against threatening Pyongyang with war.

He said supports peace and stability in the region, as it does so with regard to the Korean Peninsula and in Asia as a whole.

Referring to North Korea's latest nuclear test, Rouhani said the country's actions were a direct response to Washington's hostile policies and de-escalation was only possible if all “existential threats” against North Korea were withdrawn.

In an indirect jab at US President Donald Trump, who has time and again threatened the North with military action over its missile and nuclear tests, Rouhani said, “Threatening nuclear-armed countries is a dangerous game that puts the whole world at risk; thus we think dialogue should be the basis for resolving differences.”

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The North said over the weekend that it had carried out its sixth nuclear test by triggering a hydrogen bomb, prompting Washington's new threats of a possible military confrontation.