Trump to concentrate on Iran threat at UN

Tuesday’s speech at the annual opening of the international body will again sound the call for a united global approach to contain Iran.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

U.S. President Donald Trump’s address at the opening of the 74th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Tuesday will emphasize the threat Iran poses to the world and ask the hundreds of national leaders who have come for the event to join him in containing it, administration officials said.

A senior State Department official told ABC News that the impetus for focusing on Iran was the administration’s conclusion that the Islamic Republic was behind the recent massive attack on a Saudi Arabian oil field and the world’s largest oil processing facility.

The assault, carried out by drones, temporarily halted 5% of the world’s oil supply. France, Germany and the U.K. all agreed on Monday with the U.S. assessment that Iran did it, although Yemeni Houthi rebels, backed by Iran, took credit for the attack, and Iran denied all responsibility.

The American push also includes a social media campaign to “troll” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif by “tracking where Zarif and Rouhani are going and … countering their lies and propaganda that they’re spewing,” the official said.

In his speech, Trump is expected to refer to the economic sanctions on Iranian government bodies, private companies, banks, and individuals that the United States has steadily increased over the past year and to call on America’s allies to join his effort to pressure Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions and its sponsorship of terrorist organizations and state actors who are causing trouble throughout the Middle East.

When speaking to reporters about his upcoming address, the president hinted at more action to come.

“A lot of things are going to happen,” said Trump. “A lot more than you would know. A lot more than the media knows.”

On the other hand, Trump has also reiterated his willingness to talk to Rouhani on the sidelines of the UNGA. No such meeting is on his current agenda, but when the possibility was raised, Trump said, “I never rule anything out.”

French Prime Minister Emanuel Macron, who has been especially active in trying to lower the tensions between the U.S. and Iran, had what, the Iranian U.N. press officer called, “a long meeting” with Rouhani on Tuesday that dealt with the Iran nuclear deal, among other issues. Macron is also scheduled to hold talks with President Trump while in New York.

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AP contributed to this report.