- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 25, 2018

President Trump called on world leaders Tuesday to isolate and sanction Iran until the Islamic Republic stops spreading terrorism and working to build a nuclear arsenal.

“We cannot allow the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism to possess the planet’s most dangerous weapons,” Mr. Trump told the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York. “We ask all nations to isolate Iran’s regime as long as its aggression continues.”

The president, who said he won’t meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, withdrew the U.S. from the Obama-era nuclear deal with Iran in May, saying the agreement rewarded Tehran for its bad behavior by lifting economic sanctions.

“Iran’s leaders sow chaos, death and destruction,” Mr. Trump said. “Iran’s leaders plunder the nation’s resources to enrich themselves and to spread mayhem across the Middle East and far beyond.The dictatorship used the funds to build nuclear-capable missiles … [and to] finance havoc and slaughter in Syria and Yemen.”

In his second dress to the world body, Mr. Trump struck a more somber tone than last year, when he had warned the U.S. would “destroy” North Korea if it persisted in threatening America.

He said his approach to foreign affairs “has always yielded incredible change.”

SEE ALSO: Europe, China, Russia vow to dodge Trump’s new Iran sanctions

“With support from many countries here today, we have engaged with North Korea to replace the specter of conflict with a bold and new push for peace,” the president said, adding that sanctions on Pyongyang remain in place.

But Mr. Trump went after a series of world bodies, including the World Trade Organization, the oil-producing OPEC coalition, and the International Criminal Court, which he said has “no legitimacy.”

“We will never surrender America’s sovereignty to an unaccountable, unelected global bureaucracy,” Mr. Trump said. “We reject the ideology of globalism.”

The president also criticized the U.N. global compact on migration, an effort to resettle more refugees that was embraced by former President Barack Obama. The Trump administration notified the U.N. late last year that the U.S. would not continue with Mr. Obama’s commitment to the initiative.

“The U.S. will not participate in the new global compact on migration,” Mr. Trump said. “Migration should not be governed by an international body unaccountable to our own citizens.”

Human Rights First said Mr. Trump’s rejection of the migration initiative was “yet another indication that this administration will not lead internationally when it comes to solving hard, transnational problems.”

SEE ALSO: Donald Trump laughed at by world leaders as he boasted of his accomplishments

“Even in praising those states, like Jordan, that are bearing the brunt of the global flow of refugees, Trump managed to hide behind the work of others to mask administration policies that are harming the most vulnerable,” said Rob Berschinski, the group’s vice president for policy.

Referring to his tariff war with China, Mr. Trump said the U.S. has lost 3 million manufacturing jobs since China joined the WTO.

“We have racked up $13 trillion in trade deficits over last two decades,” he said. “Those days are over. America will never apologize for protecting its citizens. China’s market distortions and the way they deal cannot be tolerated. America will always act in our national interest.”

He said OPEC “is ripping off the rest of the world” with high oil prices.

“We defend these nations for nothing and then they take advantage of us with high oil prices,” Mr. Trump said. “I don’t like it. Nobody should like it. We are not going to put up with it, these horrible prices, much longer.”

The world body greeted Mr. Trump with audible grumbling and some laughter when he began the speech with a victory lap of his domestic economic achievements.

“In less than two years, my administration has accomplished almost more than any administration in the history of our country,” Mr. Trump said. Then he paused as murmurs of apparent disapproval were heard in the massive hall.

“So true,” Mr. Trump ad-libbed. “Didn’t expect that reaction, but that’s OK.”

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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