President Trump and Iran’s Rouhani clash at U.N.

U.S. President Donald Trump and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani clashed sharply at the U.N. General Assembly in New York on September 25. Trump fired the first volley, repeating his administration’s contention that Iran is the world’s “leading sponsor of terrorism,” accusing it of sowing “chaos, death and destruction” across the Middle East. Rouhani later hit back saying Trump’s decision to impose more sanctions on Iran is a form of “economic terrorism,” accusing the U.S. administration of trying to topple his government.

Without naming Trump directly, Rouhani said some world leaders are undermining world security by their “recklessness and disregard of international values and institutions.” Shunning multilateralism signals an “inability in understanding a complex and interconnected world,” Rouhani said.

In May, the Trump administration pulled out of the historic 2015 nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action involving the United States, France, Britain, Germany, China and Russia, designed to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon.

In August, the first round of U.S. sanctions were reimposed on Iran, and Trump promised that Iran would face more economic difficulties when the second round of sanctions targeting their energy sector comes back on November 5. This was done in spite of the fact that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations nuclear watchdog, reported that Iran was in compliance with the nuclear agreement.

There was speculation whether the two leaders would meet in New York City after Trump said he would be willing to meet without preconditions. But Rouhani said in interviews that Iran would not be willing to hold talks with the United States until it decides to return to the 2015 nuclear deal.

– edited from BBC News and Al Jazeera
PeaceMeal, Sept/October 2018

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