UN General Assembly begins amid Trump-Rouhani war of words

Clay Curtis
September 25, 2018

Earlier this year, President Donald Trump pulled the United States from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and re-imposed sanctions.

Last week, reports emerged that India may be planning to ask its state-held oil refiners to lock in the price of their crude oil futures purchases amid the sliding local currency and expectations of higher oil prices when US sanctions on Iran return in early November.

Washington wants to reduce Iran's oil exports effectively to zero with renewed sanctions in November and has been encouraging its allies to cut their oil imports from Iran.

President Donald Trump said Tuesday he had no plans to meet with Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani at the United Nations "despite requests" to do so.

He believes renewed economic pressure, which went into force in August, will force Iran to agree to a new deal.

President Rouhani said Trump would need to rebuild the bridge he burned when he made a decision to drop out of the deal before any talks could be had between the men.

Foes for decades, Washington and Tehran have been increasingly at odds since May, with some USA officials privately calling for regime change in Iran. Iran dismissed the offer. The rial has lost about two-thirds of its value this year, hitting a record low against the USA dollar this month.

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Over the past few months, rising oil prices and the weakening Indian currency, the rupee, have already created a flawless storm for India, where oil demand growth has been surging, but the higher oil prices are increasing the country's spending on crude oil imports, which account for 80 percent of Indian oil consumption. The U.S. has also accused Iran of promoting global terrorism, which Tehran vehemently denies.

Despite Iran's fragile economy, weakened by decades of sanctions, corruption and mismanagement, it will be hard for Rouhani to consider diplomacy with the United States, which is rejected by Iran's powerful hardliners.

European powers have scrambled to protect Iranian oil revenues and shield companies from the USA measures to keep them operating in Iran, but many firms have pulled out regardless.

The nuclear agreement is meant to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons, but Trump announced in May he was unilaterally pulling out because he felt it wasn't strong enough and didn't cover other issues of concern to the U.S. and its allies, such as Iran's military influence in the Middle East and ballistic missile program.

"Iran will remain committed to the deal.as long as other members remain committed to the pact and fulfil their promises", Rouhani said.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, top center, reviews army troops marching during the 38th anniversary of Iraq's 1980 invasion of Iran, in front of the shrine of the late revolutionary founder, Ayatollah Khomeini, outside Tehran, Iran, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018.

The Participants said they will continue to support the modernization of Iran's Arak research reactor as part of the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) and the conversion of the Fordow facility in a nuclear, physics, and technology center.

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