President Trump on Wednesday took center stage once again as he chaired a meeting of the United Nations Security Council in New York for a briefing on counter-proliferation with a direct focus on activities in Iran.
On Tuesday, Trump captured the world’s rapt attention as he delivered a powerful address at the annual United National General Assembly. Trump slammed the Iranian regime, noting its leaders “sow chaos, death, and destruction” and “do not respect the sovereign rights of nations.”
Also on Tuesday, National Security Adviser John Bolton raised eyebrows as he issued a warning to Iran, telling the regime in a fiery speech in New York that there will be “hell to pay” if it continues on its current course, as was reported by Israel National News.
“If you cross us, our allies, or our partners … yes, there will indeed be hell to pay,” said Bolton, who was quoted by Fox News, in a speech before the United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) annual summit.
Prior to the security council meeting, CBS News reported that U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said the meeting will focus on “violations of international law and general instability Iran sows throughout the entire Middle East region.”
Trump opened by the U.N. Security Council meeting by emphasizing the importance of keeping the world away from the scourge of chemical weapons. The meeting is focused on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Trump blasted the Iranian regime in particular, as he and national security adviser John Bolton did the day before.
“A regime with this track record must never be allowed to possess a nuclear weapon,” Trump said, reiterated his decision to pull the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal.
Trump said that under the Obama administration, Iran “needed cash” and “we gave it to them.”
Also on Wednesday, Trump met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu while in New York for UN General Assembly week.
“We are with Israel 100 percent,” Trump said.
Netanyahu said he thinks the Israeli-American alliance “has never been stronger” than it is under President Trump’s leadership. The Israeli prime minister said he looks forward to promoting their mutual interests, according to a CBS news report.
Asked about a peace process, Trump said that they’re working on lots of good things that will take some time. President Trump said it’s his dream to complete such an agreement before the end of his first term.
In his remarks to the media, Bolton continued his warning to Iran by saying, “The ayatollahs have a choice to make. We have laid out a path toward a bright and prosperous future for all of Iran, one that is worthy of the Iranian people, who have long suffered under the regime’s tyrannical rule.”
Iran, he continued, “brazenly supports the criminal Assad regime in Syria” and was “complicit in Assad’s chemical weapons attacks on his own people.” He also called Iran the world’s “worst kidnapper of US citizens.”
Bolton also dismissed the Obama-era nuclear deal with Iran, saying it was “the worst diplomatic debacle in American history,” according to the INN report.
President Trump withdrew from the Iran deal in May. Recently, the President signed an executive order officially reinstating US sanctions against Iran.
The deal contained numerous provisions — including “weasel words,” Bolton said — that White House officials found insufficient, such as limited inspection mechanisms to ensure Iran’s compliance with the deal, as well as sunset provisions that would lift various restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program in as little as 10 years.
The deal “did nothing to address the regime’s destabilizing activities or its ballistic missile development and proliferation. Worst of all, the deal failed in its fundamental objective: permanently denying Iran all paths to a nuclear bomb,” continued Bolton.
“The United States is not naïve,” Bolton stressed. “We will not be duped, cheated, or intimidated again. The days of impunity for Tehran and its enablers are over. The murderous regime and its supporters will face significant consequences if they do not change their behavior. Let my message today be clear: We are watching, and we will come after you.”
In his address before the gathering of world leaders, President Trump said of Iran; “We cannot allow the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism to possess the planet’s most dangerous weapons. We cannot allow a regime that chants ‘Death to America,’ and that threatens Israel with annihilation, to possess the means to deliver a nuclear warhead to any city on Earth. Just can’t do it,” he said.
Trump said of the rogue regime; “They plunder nations’ resources to enrich themselves and spread bad across the region. Their leaders have embezzled millions of dollars from the Iranian treasures, sent proxies to wage wars, not good! Their regional agenda is aggression and expansion.”
“That’s why many supported me in withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal and in re-imposing nuclear sanctions. The deal was a win for Iran leaders, their military budget grew 40 percent since deal was reached, they increased internal repression, financed terrorism, in Syria and Yemen. U.S. launched a campaign of economic pressure on Iran to deny the regime funds it needs to advance its bloody agenda.”
“We ask all nations to isolate Iran’s regime as long as its aggression continues. And we ask all nations to support Iran’s people as they struggle to reclaim their religious and righteous destiny.”
“We began re-imposing the sanctions lifted after the deal, on November 6 there will be more sanctions, and more will follow. We want countries that import Iran crude oil to stop, “ said Trump.
Trump added, “I took other significant steps in the recognition of every state’s right to establish its own capital. I moved the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem which advances hopes of peace between Israelis and Palestinians. That aim is advanced not harmed by acknowledging facts. It is principled realism, we are not hostages to dogmas, experts who were proven wrong over the years, time and time again. Not only in matters to do with peace but also to do with prosperity.”
On the subject of fair trade negotiations and the imposition of possible tariffs on items being exported to the US, Trump said that “there will be new tariffs for Chinese groups, as our trade imbalance is not acceptable. The way they deal cannot be tolerated. America will always act in its national interest.”
On America relinquishing its position on the UN Human Rights Council and on America’s refusal to grant any legitimate recognition to the International Criminal Court (ICC), Trump said, “I warned that the UN human rights council became a great embarrassment to this institution, shielding human rights abusers and slashing America and its many friends. Nikki Haley laid out an agenda for reform but despite warnings no action at all was taken. So the U.S. took the only possible course, withdrew from the human rights council, and we will not return till reform is enacted. And will not give recognition to the International Criminal Court.
“The ICC has no legitimacy and no authority. It claims universal jurisdiction while violating due process, violating justice, we will never surrender to this unaccountable global bureaucracy. We reject globalism and embrace patriotism, around the world responsible nations must resist the threats to sovereignty. In America we believe strongly in energy security for ourselves and our allies.”
Later, speaking to reporters while he sat alongside Colombian President Ivan Duque, Trump said: “I hope we can have the same trajectory” with Iran as the U.S. has had with North Korea.
“It was me who said no, not them,” on meeting with Iranian officials during the U.N. meeting. Trump added said such talks cannot occur until Tehran changes its behavior.
“Otherwise they’re going to be in the worst trouble of any country anywhere in the world,” said the U.S. president.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told the assembly that no country can be brought to the negotiating table by force. Rouhani also questioned how Iran can enter into an agreement with the U.S., which he said violates the policies of his predecessor, Barack Obama. In addition, Rouhani accused the Trump administration of trying to render all global institutions ineffectual.
Earlier Tuesday, Trump said on Twitter he rejected multiple requests to meet with Rouhani, an assertion Rouhani firmly denied.
“Not this year, nor last year,” he said in a CNN interview. “We have never made such as request for a meeting with the President of the United States.”
Earlier this year, Trump announced the U.S. was withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal. In November, companies doing business with Iran will have to stop or risk being shut out of the U.S. financial system. Washington wants to pressure Tehran back to the negotiating table for a new, broader deal.
Experts have warned Trump’s approach toward Iran may find the U.S. somewhat isolated at the U.N. General Assembly.
“The problem for the Trump administration is that many of the U.S.’s allies, including the powers which are signatories to the Iran nuclear deal, they will not join such condemnation,” noted the Middle East Institute’s Ahmad Majidyar. “While these countries share Washington’s concerns about Iran’s controversial ballistic missile program or support for some terrorist and militant groups in the region, they strongly support the nuclear deal and they do not back Washington’s unilateral exit.”
In a somewhat related development, ABC News reported that Russia announced on Monday that it will supply Syria’s government with sophisticated S-300 air defense systems after last week’s downing of a Russian plane by Syrian forces responding to an Israeli air strike, a friendly fire incident that stoked regional tensions.
The Russian Il-20 military reconnaissance aircraft was downed by Syrian air defenses that mistook it for an Israeli aircraft, killing all 15 people on board. Russia laid the blame on Israel, saying Israeli fighter jets were hiding behind the Russian plane, an account denied by the Israeli military.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced that the S-300 missile defense systems will be delivered to Damascus within two weeks. Earlier in the war, Russia suspended a supply of S-300s, which Israel feared Syria could use against it, according to the ABC News report.
Shoigu went on television to say that Russia is now going to go ahead with the shipment because “the situation has changed, and it’s not our fault.”
Shortly after his statement, Putin got a call from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and told him that the Russian move was “aimed primarily at fending off any potential threat to the lives of Russian servicemen,” according to the Kremlin.”
Netanyahu’s office said in its readout of the call that the Israeli prime minister “stressed once again that the responsibility for the unfortunate incident lay on the Syrian army that shot it down and on Iran, whose aggression is destabilizing the region.”
In an apparent reference to the S-300, the statement said “transferring advanced weapons to irresponsible hands will increase the dangers in the region,” adding that Israel will “continue to defend its security and interests.”
By: Fern Sidman