United Nations Headquarters
New York, New York
September 24, 2019
10:12 A.M. EDT
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. Mr. President, Mr. Secretary-General, distinguished delegates, ambassadors, and world leaders.
The United States does not seek conflict with any other nation. We desire peace, cooperation, and mutual gain with all. But I will never fail to defend America’s interests.
One of the greatest security threats facing peace-loving nations today is the repressive regime in Iran. The regime’s record of death and destruction is well known to us all. Not only is Iran the world’s number one state sponsor of terrorism, but Iran’s leaders are fueling the tragic wars in both Syria and Yemen.
At the same time, the regime is squandering the nation’s wealth and future in a fanatical quest for nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them. We must never allow this to happen.
To stop Iran’s path to nuclear weapons and missiles, I withdrew the United States from the terrible Iran nuclear deal, which has very little time remaining, did not allow inspection of important sites, and did not cover ballistic missiles.
Following our withdrawal, we have implemented severe economic sanctions on the country. Hoping to free itself from sanctions, the regime has escalated its violent and unprovoked aggression. In response to Iran’s recent attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities, we just imposed the highest level of sanctions on Iran’s central bank and sovereign wealth fund.
All nations have a duty to act. No responsible government should subsidize Iran’s bloodlust. As long as Iran’s menacing behavior continues, sanctions will not be lifted; they will be tightened. Iran’s leaders will have turned a proud nation into just another cautionary tale of what happens when a ruling class abandons its people and embarks on a crusade for personal power and riches.
For 40 years, the world has listened to Iran’s rulers as they lash out at everyone else for the problems they alone have created. They conduct ritual chants of “Death to America” and traffic in monstrous anti-Semitism. Last year the country’s Supreme Leader stated, “Israel is a malignant cancerous tumor…that has to be removed and eradicated: it is possible and it will happen.” America will never tolerate such anti-Semitic hate.
Fanatics have long used hatred of Israel to distract from their own failures. Thankfully, there is a growing recognition in the wider Middle East that the countries of the region share common interests in battling extremism and unleashing economic opportunity. That is why it is so important to have full, normalized relations between Israel and its neighbors. Only a relationship built on common interests, mutual respect, and religious tolerance can forge a better future.
Iran’s citizens deserve a government that cares about reducing poverty, ending corruption, and increasing jobs — not stealing their money to fund a massacre abroad and at home.
After four decades of failure, it is time for Iran’s leaders to step forward and to stop threatening other countries, and focus on building up their own country. It is time for Iran’s leaders to finally put the Iranian people first.
America is ready to embrace friendship with all who genuinely seek peace and respect.
Many of America’s closest friends today were once our gravest foes. The United States has never believed in permanent enemies. We want partners, not adversaries. America knows that while anyone can make war, only the most courageous can choose peace.