President Donald Trump will not meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the United Nations today. Trump is due to speak at the UN and chair a key meeting on Iran tomorrow. But he has clearly indicated that he is not willing to speak with the country’s leader.
“Despite requests, I have no plans to meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Maybe someday in the future. I am sure he is an absolutely lovely man!” Trump tweeted. It is not clear whether the Iranians had asked for a meeting. It is common for Trump to praise foreign leaders. He has previously spoken well of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Trump administration pulled out of a historic agreement with Iran that had dealt with a long-running dispute about Iran’s use of nuclear power. The European Union has continued to honor the deal and is trading with Iran despite US sanctions. The EU believes the deal is crucial in preventing Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons.
Trump will address the UN today. There is widespread anxiety about what Trump will say. US representatives at the UN have recently pushed US sovereignty. Ambassador Nikki Haley has stressed that the US cannot be dictated to by the UN, while National Security Adviser John Bolton has taken aim at international institutions. Trump’s speech may echo these themes.
However, the President’s foreign policy has not been as successful as the administration hoped. Despite initial moves on North Korea, progress has been slow and critics say Trump has handed Kim Jong Un an easy victory. The administration also pulled out of the Iran deal without offering an alternative.
His appearance at the UN may help to distract from his domestic worries, including allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and the ongoing Russia investigation. One concern is how Trump will chair the UN Security Council. His short attention span is well-known and could cause embarrassment at the meeting.