US "Historic Isolation" on Display at UN

US "Historic Isolation" on Display at UN US "Historic Isolation" on Display at UN

Washington's "historic" isolation was clearly evident in the UN General Assembly and the Security Council meeting that US President Donald Trump chaired, President Hassan Rouhani said on Thursday. 

"The Americans had no achievements in this year's General Assembly," Rouhani told reporters at Tehran's Mehrabad International Airport after returning from New York where he addressed the annual gathering of world leaders, ISNA reported. 

Trump, who withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in May and ordered sanctions reimposed on the country, used his annual address to the assembly on Tuesday to denounce Iranian leaders. 

In characteristically combative remarks, he hailed his administration's decision to withdraw from the "horrible" nuclear deal and called on "all nations" to isolate the Iranian government. 

Call for Multilateralism 

A number of world leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May—who side with Russia, China and Germany in their opposition to Trump's exit from the nuclear pact, contradicted the US president's rejection of globalism.    

Rouhani said, "The most important issue that was obvious in this year's general assembly was that the Islamic Republic of Iran is right and that the US government has a bullying attitude. 

"The US has chosen the path of unilateralism and shows disregard for international bodies, organizations and regulations," he said.  

He added that Trump had been seeking to make criticism of Iran the centerpiece of the UN Security Council meeting on Wednesday, but he achieved the opposite of what he had hoped for.  

"First of all, the main issue on the agenda was the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and not Iran. Secondly, the session turned into one in which expressed support for JCPOA," Rouhani said, using the abbreviation for the nuclear deal's formal name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.  

Hosting a special session that he had requested, Trump reiterated his view that the nuclear agreement was a "horrible, one-sided deal", saying that sanctions targeting Iranian oil sales in November will be followed by additional measures that will be "tougher than ever before".

Anyone failing to comply with US sanctions will face "severe consequences", Trump warned in the 15-member council where his country holds the rotating presidency this month. 

However, his remarks at the most powerful arm of the United Nations drew criticism from two of America's closest allies, as well as Russia and China.


Crisis of Confidence

The French president said the US approach to Iran was inadequate, adding that relations with Tehran must not be limited to a "policy of sanctions" and that long-term strategies must be put in place, RFE/RL reported. 

He said Trump had created a "serious crisis of confidence" by unilaterally withdrawing Washington from the deal and that UN Security Council resolutions supporting the accord need to be "respected by all members".

He was referring to Resolution 2231, which underpins the nuclear deal. 

The British prime minister also disagreed with Trump's assessment of the nuclear deal, saying, "We are committed to preserving" the accord "as long as Iran continues to abide by its obligations in full." 

In addition, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the Security Council that the US president's decision to pull the plug on the deal "poses a serious threat" to the international nuclear non-proliferation regime.   

Lavrov said Russia was actively working with the European Union, China and Iran to preserve the agreement. 


Hard-Won Achievement 

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the accord was a "hard-won achievement of multilateralism" that bolstered peace and stability in the Middle East.  

Wang added that "there is no international agreement that is perfect" but the Iran nuclear deal "has been endorsed unanimously by the UN Security Council" and the past three years have shown it is a "viable agreement".  

"China encourages Iran to continue to fulfill all commitments it has made," Wang said. "At the same time, the legitimate right of all countries to normal economic relations and trade with Iran should be respected."  

In his comments to reporters in Tehran, Rouhani said it is interesting that someone invites leaders to a Security Council meeting after himself having trampled on a resolution passed by the same council.  

He also hailed a recent decision by the remaining parties to the agreement to set up a Special Purpose Vehicle to facilitate trade with Iran, which EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, says could be in place "before November".  

The SPV, slammed by US officials, would create a sort of barter system to exchange Iranian oil for European goods without money changing hands and avoiding banking exchanges, Reuters reported. 


Return to JCPOA 

At a news conference held on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the General Assembly on Wednesday, Rouhani said, "It became clear that America is alone." 

He stated that Iran's measured response to Washington's pullout was appreciated by world leaders during his bilateral meetings, the president's official website reported. 

Rouhani added that the US will eventually come back to the nuclear deal because nobody benefits from the current situation.

"The United States will return to it sooner or later. American cannot continue this trend, as it is not in the interests of the US nation. What the US administration is doing benefits neither the Iranian people, nor the American people. It benefits neither Europe, nor others." 

He admitted that Iran is feeling some pressure but said the country has been in much tougher situations in the past and was able to overcome such difficulties, just as it will be able to do today. 

Not Seeking War 

The president also made it clear that Iran does not want to go to war with American forces anywhere in the Middle East.

"We do not want to attack them. We do not wish to increase tensions with the United States," he said. 

Commenting on the situation in war-ravaged Syria, Rouhani defended Iran's advisory presence in the Arab country, saying that it is at the request of the Damascus government. 

On the contrary, US troops are present on Syrian soil despite the fact that the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad does not want them there. 

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