Iran’s Rouhani: US headed into isolation after UN meeting



TEHRAN: Iran’s president said on Thursday that the UN Security Council meeting chaired by President Donald Trump the previous day reflected America’s increasing isolation among the international community.

“Nobody backed the United States, putting America into a unique historical and political isolation,” said Hassan Rouhani, speaking to reporters at Tehran’s airport after returning from New York, where he addressed the UN General Assembly.

According to the Iranian leader, Trump achieved the opposite of what he’d hoped for — in the Security Council meeting, 14 countries either directly or indirectly backed the nuclear agreement between Iran, the United States and five other major powers.

“Very interesting, someone invites leaders to a UN Security Council meeting after himself having trampled on a resolution by the very same council,” Rouhani said, referring to the council resolution that backed the landmark 2015 nuclear deal.

Trump pulled America out of the accord in May and has been re-imposing sanctions on Iran.

On Wednesday, Rouhani told reporters at the United Nations that the US withdrawal from the deal was “a mistake” and that he believes America will “sooner or later” support the deal.

Rouhani also referred to the laughter in the General Assembly audience on Tuesday when Trump in his speech boasted of America’s economy and what he described as unprecedented achievements by his administration.

The audience — which included many leaders from other countries who were listening to a translation through headphones — began to chuckle. Some broke into outright laughter.

“All in the hall laughed,” Rouhani claimed. “America achieved nothing at the General Assembly.”

Separately, Iranian Defence Minister Amir Hatami said that Iran would not bow to intensifying US economic pressure.

Washington imposed new sanctions on Iran in August, targeting its trade in gold and other precious metals, purchases of US dollars and its car industry. Trump has said the United States will issue another round of tougher sanctions in November aimed at crippling Iran’s oil sales and banking sector.

“The Americans say that by imposing sanctions they want to pressure the government of Iran but in reality with this method they deprive the people of their welfare and right to life,” Hatami said, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency.

“America and the Zionist regime (Israel) are trying to block the people of Iran from their revolutionary path and movement with economic pressure and cruel sanctions. But they should know that today we are self-sufficient and independent with regard to military products and have no dependence on any power in the world,” Hatami said, as quoted by IRNA.

Trump denounced the 2015 nuclear deal, signed before he took office, as flawed in Iran’s favor and for not also curbing its ballistic missile programme or role in regional conflicts, and he used the Security Council session to defend his decision.

“The Syrian regime’s butchery is enabled by Russia and Iran,” Trump said with respect to Syria’s civil war.