By Arab News
By Hani Hazaimeh
US President Donald Trump addressed the UN General Assembly for the first time Tuesday, saying Iran’s government is a corrupt dictatorship disguised as a democracy.
Tehran “has turned a wealthy country, with a rich history and culture, into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed and chaos,” Trump said. “The longest-suffering victims of Iran’s leaders are, in fact, Iranian people.”
He added that Tehran uses its resources and oil profits to fund Hezbollah and other terrorist groups that kill innocent Muslims and attack peaceful Arab states.
“This wealth, which rightly belongs to Iranian people, also goes to shore up (Syrian President) Bashar Assad’s dictatorship, fuel Yemen’s civil war and undermine peace throughout the entire Middle East,” Trump said.
He added that the world cannot let Tehran continue these destabilizing activities while building ballistic missiles, and cannot abide by the nuclear deal if it provides cover for an eventual nuclear program.
“The Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into,” Trump said. “Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States.”
He added that Iran must stop supporting terrorists, start serving its own people and respect the sovereign rights of its neighbors.
He said Tehran’s support for terrorism is in stark contrast to recent commitments by many of its neighbors to combat terrorism and its financing.
“In Saudi Arabia… I was greatly honored to address the leaders of more than 50 Arab and Muslim nations,” said Trump.
“We agreed that all responsible nations must work together to confront terrorists and the Islamic extremism that inspires them.”
He added that the US cannot allow terrorism and extremism to tear up “our nation and, indeed, to tear up the entire world. We must deny the terrorists safe haven, transit, funding, and any form of support for their vile and sinister ideology.”
He said the US is working with its allies throughout the Middle East to crush terrorists and stop the re-emergence of safe havens that they use to launch attacks against innocents.
Speaking about recent setbacks to Daesh, Trump said in Syria and Iraq, there has been major progress toward the terrorist group’s lasting defeat.
Over the Syrian crisis, he said: “We seek the de-escalation of the conflict and a political solution that honors the will of the Syrian people.”
“The actions of the criminal regime of Bashar Assad, including the use of chemical weapons against his own citizens, even innocent children, shocked the conscience of every decent person.” He added that no society could be safe if banned chemical weapons are allowed to proliferate.
Trump referred to North Korea’s leader as “rocket man,” and described him as being on “a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.”
Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if the US finds itself “forced to defend itself or its allies.”
He added: “No one has shown more contempt for other nations, and for the well-being of their own people, than the depraved regime in North Korea. It’s responsible for the starvation deaths of millions of North Koreans.”