One year after President Trump angered both allies and foes alike when he threatened to annihilate North Korea during a speech at the UN General Assembly, Trump was expected to adopt a more measured tone this year that will nonetheless stress the US’s policy of “maximum pressure” on its enemies, according to Bloomberg.
Though Trump’s rhetoric isn’t expected to be as bellicose as it was last year, when he coined the nickname “Rocket Man” for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un before claiming that Kim was on a “suicide mission,” the US president is expected to focus on the importance of bringing the Iranian regime to heel. The speech comes just weeks before the Trump administration is expected to impose economic sanctions against Iran in November, a process that China, Russia and the US’s erstwhile EU partners are developing strategies to circumvent, per Bloomberg.
National Security Advisor even hinted that Trump could surprise his audience by unveiling new sanctions against the Islamic Republic when Bolton said Monday that “more are coming” during a meeting with reporters.
“We’ve imposed very stringent sanctions on Iran. More are coming,” National Security Adviser John Bolton told reporters Monday at the UN General Assembly. “And what we expect from Iran is massive changes in their behavior. And until that happens, we will continue to exert what the president has called ‘maximum pressure.'”
While Trump loves to bash the UN (he famously believes the US spends too much money on the UN’s operations) National Security Adviser John Bolton has said that Trump’s Tuesday speech will focus on “American sovereignty” and “how that fits into America’s place in the world as a whole.”
On a more amusing note, Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani have traded insults this week after Rouhani said he wouldn’t agree to meet with the US until the Iran deal is reinstated, despite what he said were several overtures from US officials. In response Trump tweeted that he had “no plans to meet with…Rouhani”, having rebuffed requests from his administration.
Despite requests, I have no plans to meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Maybe someday in the future. I am sure he is an absolutely lovely man!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 25, 2018
Iran’s foreign mission reiterated Tuesday morning that no meeting with Trump had been requested. To be sure, Trump has said in the past that he would be open to meeting Rouhani. The Iranian president will have an opportunity to rebut Trump’s claims during his own address to the general assembly later Tuesday.
“That bridge must be rebuilt,” he said. Meanwhile, Iran can withstand U.S. sanctions, he said, calling the Trump administration’s threats to choke off his country’s oil exports an “empty promise.”
“The United States is not capable of bringing our oil exports to zero,” Rouhani told NBC.
The Los Angeles Times added that Trump intends to highlight Iran’s malign activities in the Middle East – including its ballistic missile tests and its support for militant groups in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.
The president is also expected to tout his foreign policy successes, including the burgeoning detente with North Korea.
In his speech, Trump is expected to highlight his diplomatic outreach to North Korea over the last year and his claim that dictator Kim Jong Un promised at a June summit in Singapore to give up his nuclear arsenal — even though no proof has yet emerged to support that assertion.
The nuclear negotiations with North Korea appear to have stalled, and U.N. nuclear monitors and U.S. intelligence agencies have found no evidence that North Korea has dismantled or given up its nuclear program or weapons arsenal.
Trump is expected to take the stage at 10:15 am ET. He will be followed later in the day by Rouhani, who is expected to rebut many of the president’s claims
Watch his speech live below: