United States President, John Donald Trump and his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani clashed sharply at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, with the former urging the international community to isolate Tehran from global trade, and the latter calling US sanctions “economic terrorism”.
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Weeks of speculation about a possible breakthrough meeting devolved into a cold war over Trump’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal and to reimpose economic sanctions on Iran.
Trump fired the first volley, repeating his administration’s contention that Iran is the world’s “leading sponsor of terrorism”.
“Iran’s neighbors have paid a heavy toll for the regime’s agenda of aggression and expansion,” Trump said, accusing Iranian leaders of having “embezzled billions of dollars” from the country’s treasury to wage proxy wars. “The dictatorship used the funds to build nuclear-capable missiles, increase internal repression, finance terrorism, and fund havoc and slaughter in Syria and Yemen,” he said.
Trump to impose more sanctions on Rouhani
“We ask all nations to isolate Iran’s regime as long as its aggression continues.”
Trump promised Iran would face more economic difficulties when the second round of sanctions targeting the energy sector snap back on November 5.
Rouhani later hit back at Trump saying his decision to impose more sanctions is a form of “economic terrorism”, accusing the US administration of trying to topple his government.
“It’s ironic that the US government does not even conceal it’s plan for overthrowing the same government it invites to talks,” Rouhani said.
Without directly naming Trump, he said some world leaders are undermining world security by their “recklessness and disregard of international values and institutions”.
“Confronting multi-lateralism is not a sign of strength, rather a symptom of the weakness of intellect,” he said.
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