U.S. President Donald Trump called for Iran’s continued international isolation during his combative address at United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York. It prompted a response from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani that the United States sought to topple his government.
In Trump’s second appearance at the General Assembly, he also took aim at adversaries closer to home, including Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro – as well as international institutions such as the UN-backed world court.
Hours before Rouhani took to the dais, Trump condemned the theocratic leadership of the Islamic Republic for sowing “chaos, death and destruction,” while he defended his controversial decision to tear up an internationally-brokered nuclear deal.
“We cannot allow the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism to possess the planet’s most dangerous weapons,” Trump said, alluding to Tehran’s support for Islamic militant movements such as Hamas and Hezbollah.
“We ask all nations to isolate Iran’s regime as long as its aggression continues.”
The U.S. Administration withdrew from nuclear deal in May, after Trump’s (and other’s) assessment that it did nothing to inhibit Iran’s nuclear ambitions – and, in fact, seemed to reward Iran, through trade deals etc. without ensuring the curtailing of its sponsorship of terrorism.
In his address, Rouhani ridiculed Trump as a “preposterous” leader, who had only succeeded in isolating himself and the United States. That supposed isolation was exemplified by the reaction of the other five signatories of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – China, Russia, Germany, Britain and France – who announced their intentions to keep business alive with Iran.
Rouhani also nixed the idea that Iran would resume talks with the U.S. saying that nobody was fooled by Washington’s assertions that it did not seek regime change.
“It is ironic that the US government does not even conceal its plan for overthrowing the same government it invites to talks,” Rouhani said.
The European Union also indicated its willingness to challenge U.S. sanctions, a move that drew the consternation of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Addressing an anti-Iran pressure group he said he was “disturbed and indeed deeply disappointed” by the EU announcement.
Several world leaders emphasized the need for multilateralism – including French President Emmanuel Macron and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. Turkish strongman President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose country has experienced a cooling of its relationship with Washington, spoke obliquely about how it was “very easy to create chaos but difficult to re-establish order,” although he left no-one in doubt that he was referencing President Trump.