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The overnight airstrikes in Syria aimed at Islamic extremists conducted by the U.S. are illegal, Iran's leader told NBC News on Tuesday. The fighter jets and bombers who launched at least 14 strikes against ISIS in Syria did so without authorization from the United Nations, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday, and did it without permission from Syria.
Rouhani told NBC News' Andrea Mitchell that the Syrian offensive differed from similar recent U.S. intervention in Iraq because unlike Syrian President Bashar Assad, who didn't invite such strikes, the government in Iraq had asked for help quashing the militants that Obama has repeatedly pledged he will "degrade and ultimately destroy." Rouhani, who is among world leaders gathered in New York this week, also said that he had no plans to meet with Obama at the U.N. If a meeting were to take place, he said, there would need to be underlying foundations for it. "I do believe this meeting will probably not take place," Rouhani said. As for the future of tenuous U.S.-Iranian relations, he reiterated that a nuclear agreement collaboration would be a win-win for all sides. Meanwhile, Rouhani is slated to meet British Prime Minister David Cameron in the first meeting between those country's leaders since 1979.
The Iranian president's critique of the U.S. bombardment in Syria comes less than a week after he blasted the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS as "ridiculous."