President Donald Trump is set to deliver remarks at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday morning where he is expected to address relations with Iran following attacks on Saudi oil fields earlier this month.
Trump said Monday that he planned to speak about Iran, but he declined to preview specifics despite several opportunities. Just last week, the Trump administration issued sanctions against Iran’s central bank and its sovereign wealth fund, days after the Saudi attack, which the US has blamed on Tehran.
“A lot of things are happening with respect to Iran, a lot more than you know … I’ll be discussing it a little bit tomorrow,” Trump said during a bilateral meeting with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani arrived in New York Monday afternoon, telling reporters he hopes to deliver a message of “peace” and an end to any intervention in the “sensitive Persian Gulf and the Middle East” during his speech scheduled for Wednesday, according to Iran’s state-run news agency IRNA.
Trump has repeatedly expressed openness to meeting with Rouhani in New York this week, but said Monday that nothing was on the schedule.
The US President will also be discussing the economy during his Tuesday speech, he said. The relationship between the US and China is also likely at the top of mind during the President’s remarks, as well as his administration’s longtime calls to reduce foreign aid.
Trump has largely ignored the overarching themes assigned to each assembly, and it’s expected that he will ignore this year’s focus: climate. At last year’s assembly, Trump was met by the laughter of fellow world leaders when he claimed that in less than two years, his “administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country.”
“I didn’t expect that reaction, but that’s OK,” he added at the time to more laughter and some applause.
Trump’s Tuesday speech comes on the heels of his global call to protect freedom of religion at the UN General Assembly, which his aides characterized as the centerpiece of his visit to the conference of world leaders. During the remarks, Trump called for world leaders to stop persecuting people of faith.
The main focus of Monday agenda, however, was a Climate Action Summit featuring remarks from several world leaders. Trump was not slated to attend, but made an unscheduled visit Monday morning, watching Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel speak before departing for the religious freedom event.
Asked why he attended the climate summit, Trump said, “Because I believe in clean air and clean water. Very simple. We have the cleanest air, we have the cleanest water, cleaner that it’s ever been before in our country.”
Trump also held meetings Monday afternoon with the leaders of Pakistan, Poland, New Zealand, Singapore, Egypt and South Korea.
By the end of Tuesday, the President is expected to have met with more than a dozen foreign leaders.