US, Israel unite in slamming Tehran
The United States and Israel have united in slamming Iran during the annual United Nations General Assembly, with the leaders of both countries directing accusations at Tehran.
Making his debut appearance at the annual meeting, U.S. President Donald Trump accused Iran of exporting “violence, bloodshed and chaos” and of seeking to project its influence in Yemen, Syria and elsewhere in a region rife with sectarian conflicts between Sunni and Shiite Muslims.
“We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilizing activities while building dangerous missiles, and we cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program,” Trump said late on Sept. 19, as he slammed the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
The 2015 pact was struck by Iran and six major world powers under which Tehran agreed to restrict its nuclear program in return for loosening of economic sanctions.
The accord was negotiated during the administration of former Democratic President Barack Obama, whose policies Republican Trump frequently criticizes.
“The Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into. Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it - believe me,” Trump said in his speech.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, praised Trump’s speech at the U.N., saying that “in over 30 years in my experience with the U.N., I never heard a bolder or more courageous speech.”
During his speech, Netanyahu vowed to fight an “Iranian curtain” descending on the Middle East, pledging to prevent Tehran from ever establishing a permanent foothold in Syria.
“From the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean, from Tehran to Tartus, an Iranian curtain is descending across the Middle East,” Netanyahu said, claiming that “those who threaten Israel with annihilation put themselves in mortal peril.”
“Israel will defend itself with the full force of our arms and the full power of our convictions,” he added.
“We will act to prevent Iran from establishing permanent military bases in Syria for its air, sea and ground forces,” he said, also vowing to prevent Iran from producing any weapons that could hit Israel.
Tehran was quick to reply Trump’s remarks, with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif calling it an “ignorant hate speech.”
“Trump’s ignorant hate speech belongs in medieval times -- not the 21st century U.N. -- unworthy of a reply,” Zarif said on Twitter.
“Fake empathy for Iranians fools no one,” he added.
Another criticism to Trump came from Russia, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov saying that Moscow is “extremely concerned” by the speech and suspects that the U.S. itself may have violated a landmark arms control treaty.