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Trump to address ‘Iran, Skripal case’ during UN assembly speech

President Donald Trump speaks to troops while visiting U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill, AFB, FL, Feb. 6, 2017. (D. Myles Cullen/Department of Defense)
September 24, 2018

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

President Donald Trump will speak about Iran, the Skripal poisoning case in England, chemical weapons, and North Korea when he addresses the United Nations next week, the U.S. ambassador says.

“It is time for us to have a real discussion [about Iran] and that’s what you will see the president do when he chairs the Security Council,” Nikki Haley told Fox News on September 20.

“It will be the most watched Security Council meeting ever, I’m sure,” she added.

Trump will address the General Assembly’s 193 member nations at the official opening on September 25 and the next day chair a Security Council meeting focusing on Iran, nonproliferation, and chemical weapons attacks in Syria and Britain.

“With Iran, he does not think we should turn away. He does not think we should let our focus go away. He thinks they’re dangerous. He thinks there are issues, and he thinks the international community has to take that into account,” she told Fox.

Trump in May pulled out of the 2015 nuclear accord that Iran signed with six world powers and last month began reimposing sanctions that had been eased as part of the deal in return for curbs on Tehran’s nuclear program.

The other signatories of the accord have vowed to remain in the deal amid threats by Washington to sanction any companies that continue to deal with Iran.

In Tehran, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called Trump’s administration a “threat” to the Middle East and to the global community.

“It is true that there is a real threat to our region and to international peace and security: That threat is the Trump Administration’s sense of entitlement to destabilize the world along with rogue accomplices in our region,” Zarif tweeted on September 21.

“The US must start acting like a normal state,” Zarif added.

Ambassador Haley said Trump was also “going to talk about the chemical weapons issue that we had to work on this month to prevent from happening in Idlib, Syria.”

Western powers have expressed concerns that the Syrian government could use chemical weapons as it launches an offensive in Idlib Province to drive out the remnants of rebel fighters in that country’s seven-year civil war.

Haley said Trump will also discuss North Korea and efforts to bring about denuclearization on the peninsula.

‘We’re Being Strong Again’

The president will address “the fact that we had to take on the Russian incident in the U.K. with the Skripals,” she added, referring to the Novichok poisoning case in the English city of Salisbury that the West has blamed on Russia. Moscow has denied the allegations.

Haley was not more specific on what Trump would say on the issues listed.

She said the president will also discuss foreign aid but would “lay down a marker that while the U.S. is generous, we are going to be generous to those who share our values and not those who try to stop the United States and say they hate America.”

She acknowledged that many countries are upset with U.S. policies, but she said that was because “we’re being strong again” and that “we’re not going to have these multilateral organizations mandate” U.S. actions.

Trump has so far pulled out of several international accords, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, the Paris climate accord, and the UN’s science, educational, and cultural organization.

“A lot of leaders have gamed out how to deal with the president,” Jon Alterman, senior vice president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told the Associated Press.

“They will be nice to him in person, but will work to create broad coalitions to block or undermine a lot of the president’s initiatives because they think they are misguided. They’ll try to use this meeting to advance strategies that promote their vision and not the president’s, but not rub the president’s face in it,” he added.