International Peace Studies Centre – London
On the 19th September 2017 at the 72nd UN General Assembly, Donald Trump, the US President, threatened the five countries of Iran, Cuba, North Korea, Syria, and Venezuela. He called the nuclear agreement between 5+1 and Iran “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into,” and an “embarrassment”.
In response to Trump’s speech, on Wednesday 20th September 2017 at the UN General Assembly, Hassan Rouhani, the President of Iran, stated that Iran will respond definitively to any violations of the 2015 nuclear agreement, stating “I declare before you that the Islamic Republic of Iran will not be the first country to violate the agreement and will respond decisively and resolutely to its violation by any party.”
The United Nation was faced with two opposing speeches by Donald Trump and Hassan Rouhani. Trump’s speech was focused on threatening and attacking other countries, stating “It is time for the entire world to join us in demanding that Iran’s government end its pursuit of death and destruction,” while the Trump administration signed a $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia on the 20th May 2017, directly fuelling war and destruction in the Middle East, specifically Yemen. The Trump administration continues to reiterate its threats against Iran’s nuclear energy programme and missile defence system; needless to say, to date US is the only country to have ever used nuclear weapons against another nation, and US is the largest nuclear proliferator.
Contradictory to Trump’s hateful rhetoric, Rouhani’s UN speech was focused on peace, security, moderation, dialogue, and partnership. Rouhani said that the nuclear deal agreement cannot be renegotiated, stating that “if anyone exists the agreement and breaks their commitment, it means our hand is completely open to take any action that we see as beneficiary to our country.” Furthermore, Rouhani stated that the deadly weapons exports are not beautiful and dialogue between countries should be based on mutual respect, pointedly referring to the aforementioned US-Saudi arms deal. It is ironic for Iran to be called a “rogue” nation whose “oil profits go to fund Hezbollah and other terrorists that kill innocent Muslims and attacked their peaceful Arab and Israeli neighbours.” Consider the US-led military incursions and wars in Afghanistan (2001), Iraq (2003), and Libya (2011), where security and stability is yet to be established in the countries. Furthermore, the continued American military presence in these countries may be very well construed as military occupation, under the guise of establishing regional security, not even taking into account the hundreds of American military black-ops that take place on a daily basis without international oversight or sanction. In addition, the United States has the largest military budget in the world, which is $824.6 billion, which is “larger than that of the next nine highest spending countries combined”, whilst the American people’s basic human rights, including the right to health care and safe abode is neglected in favour of an ever expanding military expenditure.
Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, was Trump’s sole supporter, whereas majority of nations, including United Kingdom, France, Germany, China, and Russia supported Rouhani in his speech. On the day of Hassan Rouhani’s speech at the UN General Assembly, UK’s Quercus company reached a €500 million investment agreement with Iran, to build one of the world’s biggest solar power energy farms, effectively a slap in the face to the Trump’s administration.
America is no longer seen as a supporter of the oppressed, and Americans can thank their President for that.