US President Donald Trump addresses the UN General Assembly in New York on September 25, 2018.  Photo: AFP / Bryan R. Smith
US President Donald Trump addresses the UN General Assembly in New York on September 25, 2018. Photo: AFP / Bryan R. Smith

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday vowed additional sanctions would be slapped on Tehran after a planned round is reimposed in November.

“The United States has launched a campaign of economic pressure,” Trump told the UN General Assembly in New York.

“Sanctions will resume November 5 and more will follow. And we’re working with countries that import Iranian crude oil to cut their purchases substantially,” he said.

Trump accused Tehran of using financial gains from the Iran nuclear agreement to increase its military budget and of fueling the conflicts in Syria and Yemen.

“Their leaders have embezzled billions of dollars from Iran’s treasure,” he said, and “looted the people’s religious endowments all to line their own pockets and send their proxies to wage war.”

Ultimately, the United States will “deny the regime the funds it needs to advance its bloody agenda,” Trump said. “We cannot allow a regime to chant, ‘Death to America,’ and that threatens israel with annihilation, to possess the means to deliver a nuclear warhead to any city on earth. Just can’t do it.”

He thanked Jordan for hosting Syria’s refugees, notably leaving out Turkey – with which relations are increasingly strained – as well as Lebanon.

“As we see in Jordan, the most compassionate policy is to place refugees as close to their homes as possible to ease their eventual return to be part of the rebuilding process,” he said. It was unclear if this was a reference to the Rukban camp, located in the no-man’s land between Jordan and Syria and where some 50,000 refugees are stranded in the desert and barred from receiving cross-border aid.

Trump announced the US would not be participating in a new UN-backed Global Compact for Migration. “We recognize the right of every nation in this room to set its own immigration policy in accordance with its national interest, just as we ask other countries to respect our own right to do the same,” he said.

One of Trump’s foreign policy goals has been to slash US aid commitments and shift the responsibility to Arab allies. To that end, he announced he had secured “billions of dollars in aid for Syria and Yemen” from the governments of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.

But Trump also attacked OPEC member countries, accusing them of “ripping off” the rest of the world.

“We defend many of these nations for nothing and then they take advantage of us by giving us high oil prices. Not good. We want them to stop raising prices. We want them to start lowering prices. And they must contribute substantially to military protection from now on.

“We’re not going to put up with it – these horrible prices – much longer,” he warned.

“Reliance on a single foreign supplier can leave a nation vulnerable to extortion and intimidation,” Trump lectured.

The US leader praised Poland for “leading the construction of a Baltic pipeline” to diversify away from Russian energy and warned Germany it was on the path to becoming “totally dependent” on Moscow, eliciting looks of disbelief and laughter from the German delegation.

Trump saved his strongest condemnation for the International Criminal Court. “As far as America is concerned, the ICC has no jurisdiction, no legitimacy and no authority,” he said.

“We reject the ideology of globalism,” he added.

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