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Story highlights

Ali Larijani questions why Iranians are part of the Trump administration's travel ban

The Iranian politician also questions whether Saudi demands of Qatar are logical

(CNN) —  

The speaker of Iran’s Parliament has expressed disbelief at the Trump administration’s travel ban for citizens from six countries, including Iran, saying his country has led the fight against terrorism in the Middle East.

The new US policy will ban all arrivals from Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Yemen and Somalia for 90 days, if the new arrivals have no relationship with a person or entity in the United States.

Ali Larijani is one of the first Iranian officials to speak about the “watered-down” version of US President Donald Trump’s travel ban, which is scheduled to take effect at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday after a ruling by the US Supreme Court.

“At the time when Iraq was being overrun by Daesh, by ISIS, did the United States make the slightest move in defense of it? Or was it the Iranian nation that rendered aid to the Iraqi nation and Iraq government?” Larijani told CNN in an exclusive interview.

“Had we not assisted them, Baghdad would have been occupied by ISIS. It is with the help of Iran that Daesh, ISIS, is on its last breath in Iraq (and Syria),” Larijani said.

Larijani said “numerous Iranians” live in the United States, and called on the American administration to provide proof that any of them has been involved in terrorism.

“I have spoken about this before, so many Iranians live in the United States, study in the United States, engage in business in the United States, which one of them have engaged in terrorism?” he asked.

The Parliamentary speaker argued the ban was unlikely to work, because terrorists “seldom to never” enter a country under their own names or nationalities.

“President Trump and American officials are aware of this. The terrorists must be defeated at the source. Where are their sources? Where are they? They are in Afghanistan, in Syria, in Iraq,” he said.

Saudi demands on Qatar not ‘logical’

In addition to Trump’s travel ban, Larijani also criticized the ongoing boycott of Qatar by Saudi Arabia and its allies until a series of demands, including cutting ties with Iran, are met.

01:04 - Source: CNN
Speaker of Iranian parliament slams Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt sparked a rift with Qatar on June 5, accusing the country of supporting terrorism and destabilizing the region.

Among the conditions of the embargo were that Qatar must: shut down the Al Jazeera news network, halt the development of a Turkish military base in the country, and cut ties to extremist organizations.

The United States has called for a resolution to the crisis.

Larijani questioned whether Saudi Arabia had the right to “dictate” conditions to another independent nation.

“Is it logical, is it mature for one country to dictate to another and say you must do as I say? Well you must cease relations, for example, with Iran?” he said. “I do not believe that … the Saudis carry this sort of weight to say these sort of things.”