Thomas Seibert is an Arab Weekly contributor in Istanbul.

  • Iran continues missile threats despite Trump’s stern warnings, On: Sun, 24 Sep 2017

  • As US hints at exit from Iran deal, potential new conflicts come into view , On: Sun, 24 Sep 2017

  • Turkey to launch intervention into Syria — and maybe into Iraq, On: Sun, 24 Sep 2017

  • US, UK and UN propose ‘alternative’ plan to stop Kurdish referendum, On: Sun, 17 Sep 2017

  • Erdogan to appeal to Trump as US sanctions probe intensifies, On: Sun, 17 Sep 2017

  • Turkey faces new tensions with Germany and US, On: Sun, 10 Sep 2017

  • Iranian nuclear deal in trouble as Tillerson tries to avoid collapse, On: Sun, 10 Sep 2017

  • Regional powers and US increase pressure against Kurdish referendum , On: Sun, 27 Aug 2017

  • Concerned over Kurds, Turkey moves closer to Iran and possibly to Assad , On: Sun, 27 Aug 2017

  • US is trying not to repeat in Syria its mistakes in Iraq, On: Sun, 27 Aug 2017

  • Trump’s Afghanistan strategy offers glimpses for US policies in Middle East, On: Sun, 27 Aug 2017

  • US Muslim brace for more violence after mosque attack, On: Sun, 20 Aug 2017

  • US, Kuwait continue mediation over Qatar crisis but resolution to dispute is remote , On: Sun, 13 Aug 2017

  • Turkey follows Brotherhood affinities but faces risks in siding with Qatar, On: Sun, 13 Aug 2017

  • Chronicle of a failed US mediation in the Gulf foretold, On: Sun, 16 Jul 2017

  • Qatar crisis reflects waning US influence, On: Sun, 16 Jul 2017

  • US lawmakers move to block Trump’s efforts to cut aid for Tunisia, On: Sun, 16 Jul 2017

  • Given cold shoulder by Trump, Qatar turns to a troubled Turkey, On: Sun, 02 Jul 2017

  • Pressure on Qatar mounts as diplomacy stalls and football scandal bubbles up, On: Sun, 02 Jul 2017

  • New rules for Muslim ban fan concern over Islamophobia, refugees, On: Sun, 02 Jul 2017

  • Amid conflicting signals, Trump shows ‘who’s the boss’, On: Sun, 18 Jun 2017

  • In Washington, tough position on Qatar despite confused signals, On: Sun, 11 Jun 2017

  • As pressure on ISIS grows, Western officials see continued ‘metastasising’ of terror threat, On: Sun, 11 Jun 2017

  • Qatar risks US sanctions over support for Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood , On: Sun, 28 May 2017

  • Qatar faces threat of punitive legislation as US officials decry Brotherhood ties , On: Sun, 28 May 2017

  • US-Turkish relations go from bad to worse, On: Sun, 28 May 2017

  • Turkey grudgingly accepts Trump’s support for Syrian Kurds, On: Sun, 21 May 2017

  • Deeper US involvement in Syria, closer alliance with Kurds , On: Sun, 14 May 2017

  • Trump and Erdogan face crisis in first meeting, On: Sun, 14 May 2017

  • The first trip of Trump to the Middle East highly symbolic but shows no clear strategy, On: Sun, 14 May 2017

  • For Muslim comedians in the US, Trump is a mixed blessing, On: Sun, 14 May 2017

  • A reset in US-Turkish relations proving elusive, On: Sun, 07 May 2017

  • Uncertainties in the Middle East after Trump’s first 100 days in office, On: Sun, 30 Apr 2017

  • US fires opening shots in confrontation with Iran, On: Sun, 23 Apr 2017

  • US faces difficult task in developing a new Syria strategy , On: Sun, 16 Apr 2017

  • In Sisi, King Abdullah meetings, Trump shows changed focus , On: Sun, 09 Apr 2017

  • Sisi’s Washington visit reflects Trump’s ‘transactional approach’ , On: Sun, 09 Apr 2017

  • US and allies talk of post-ISIS future, but have no plan , On: Sun, 26 Mar 2017

  • Critics question motives behind laptop ban on planes, On: Sun, 26 Mar 2017

  • Iran continues missile threats despite Trump’s stern warnings

    The Trump administration will try to convince its allies to seek stronger rules to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

    Danger zone. Iranian President Hassan Rohani (2nd R) speaks at a military parade marking the 37th anniversary of Iraq’s 1980 invasion of Iran, on September 22. (Reuters)


    2017/09/24 Issue: 124 Page: 1



    Washington- US President Donald Trump raised a range of Middle Eastern issues at the UN General As­sembly, firing off stern warnings against Iran, trying to find common ground with Turkey and committing himself to finding peace between the Israelis and the Pales­tinians.

    Trump used his first UN speech to signal his frustration with the in­ternational agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear capabilities. In an address marked by his threat to “complete­ly destroy” North Korea following Pyongyang’s missile tests and warn­ing of a nuclear attack against the United States, Trump named Iran as another “rogue state” that had to be stopped.

    The US president later said he had already made up his mind about whether to end the United States’ participation in the international nu­clear deal with Iran. He did not make his decision public but, speaking only weeks before his administration must tell the US Congress whether Iran is complying with the treaty, he strongly hinted that he did not accept the agreement in its present form.

    News reports said the Trump ad­ministration would try to convince its allies to seek stronger rules to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

    US Ambassador to the United Na­tions Nikki Haley said in early Sep­tember the certification decision will be tied to Iran’s overall behaviour. “We must consider the whole jigsaw puzzle, not just one of its pieces,” she said, adding that “should the president decide to decertify, he has grounds to stand on.”

    Iranian President Hassan Rohani responded by saying his country would further strengthen its missile programme but Israel applauded Trump’s hard-line stance. “In over 30 years in my experience with the UN, I never heard a bolder or more courageous speech,” Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Twitter.

    Iran had an additional response of defiance when, on September 22, it exhibited for the first time a mis­sile capable of reaching almost any target in the Middle East. The Khor­ramshahr, which was displayed dur­ing a military parade in Tehran, has a range of 2,000km.

    “We will strengthen our defence and military capability, whether you want it or not,” Rohani said.

    He also said Tehran would support the “oppressed people of Yemen, Syria and Palestine,” a reference to its role in proxy wars in the Middle East.

    Trump was not alone in denounc­ing Iran’s behaviour. Talking about the Iran nuclear deal, French Presi­dent Emmanuel Macron said: “Is this agreement enough? No. It is not, given the evolution of the regional situation and increasing pressure that Iran is exerting on the region and given increased activity by Iran on the ballistic level since the ac­cord.”

    UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Ab­dullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan said Iran “violates the letter and spirit” of the 2015 agreement and continues “to exploit the crises in the Arab world to undermine regional security by inciting and fuelling conflict” by supporting terrorist activities in the Middle East.

    Trump’s bilateral meetings with 14 foreign leaders on the sidelines of the General Assembly included talks with key Middle Eastern play­ers, from Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al- Thani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    The US president sounded upbeat about prospects for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, even though there was no movement on any of the many sticking points be­tween the two sides.

    Still, Trump expressed optimism. “I think we have a very, very good chance and I certainly will de­vote everything within my heart and within my soul to get that deal made,” Trump said after meeting with Abbas. The Palestinian leader said Trump was serious about reach­ing a “deal of the century.”

    Trump used his meeting with Sisi to iron out tensions between Wash­ington and Cairo over the recent de­cision by the United States to deny or delay almost $200 million in aid over human rights concerns. The US gov­ernment would “certainly consider” restarting the assistance, Trump said. There was “a lot of progress” in relations between the two countries.

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