Photo Credit: UN WebTV via TIME / YouTube
Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations Gholamali Khoshroo, during the speech by U.S. President Donald Trump at the 2018 UN General Assembly in New York

U.S. President Donald Trump opened his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday (Sept. 25) in New York with remarks that, at the start, sounded remarkably like those he delivers at one of his election campaign rallies.

Predictably, the first few minutes were greeted with some head-shaking, chuckles and in a few cases, even outright laughter. But all that stopped abruptly once the president buckled down to business.

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Following is an excerpt from the speech, providing an update on this year’s policies vis a vis the Middle East and Iran.

“In the Middle East our new approach is also yielding great strides and very historic change,” Trump said.

“Following my trip to Saudi Arabia last year the Gulf countries opened a new center to target terrorist financing. They are enforcing new sanctions, working with us to identify and track terrorist networks and taking more responsibility for fighting terrorism and extremism in their own region.

The UAE, Saudia Arabia and Qatar have pledged billions of dollars to aid the people of Syria and Yemen, and they are pursuing multiple avenues to ending Yemen’s horrible, horrific civil war. Ultimately, it is up to the nations of the region to decide what kind of future they want for themselves and their children. For that reason the United States is working with the Gulf Cooperation Council, Jordan and Egypt, to establish a regional strategic alliance so that Middle Eastern nations can advance prosperity , stability and security across their home region….

The ongoing tragedy in Syria is heartbreaking.

Our shared goals must be the de-escalation of military conflict along with a political solution that honors the will of the Syrian people.

In this vein, we urge the United Nations-led peace process be reinvigorated, but rest assured the United States will respond if chemical weapons are deployed by the Assad regime.

I commend the people of Jordan and other neighboring countries for hosting refugees from this very brutal civil war. 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.

Every solution to the humanitarian crisis in Syria must also include a strategy to address the brutal regime that has fueled and financed it: the corrupt dictatorship in Iran.

Iran’s leaders sow chaos, death and destruction.

They do not respect their neighbors or borders or the sovereign rights of nations. Instead, Iran’s leaders plunder the nation’s resources to enrich themselves and to spread mayhem across the Middle East and far beyond.

The Iranian people are rightly outraged that their leaders have embezzled billions of dollars from Iran’s treasury, seized valuable portions of the economy, and looted the people’s religious endowments – all to line their own pockets and send their proxies to wage war.

Not good.

Iran’s neighbors have paid a heavy toll for the region’s agenda of aggression and expansion. That is why so many countries in the Middle East strongly supported my decision to withdraw the United States from the horrible 2015 Iran nuclear deal and reimpose nuclear sanctions.

The Iran deal was a windfall for Iran’s leaders.

In the year since the deal was reached, Iran’s military budget grew nearly 40 percent. The dictatorship used the funds to build nuclear-capable missiles, increase internal repression, finance terrorism and fund havoc and slaughter in Syria and Yemen.

The United States has launched a campaign of economic pressure to deny the regime the funds it needs to advance its bloody agenda.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.