Trump on world stage in New York

The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE - By Anne Gearan and David Naka­mura

NEW YORK» Pres­i­dent Trump’s first ad­dress to the United Na­tions, the world body he once said risked be­com­ing an ir­rel­e­vant salon, will be a test of his “Amer­ica First” agenda on global en­gage­ment, cli­mate change and North Korea, but one topic — Iran — looms largest.

Trump’s speech Tues­day and a se­ries of meet­ings he will hold this week with for­eign lead­ers gath­er­ing here at the an­nual U.N. Gen­eral As­sem­bly are freighted with ex­pec­ta­tions that the U.S. leader wants to pull away from the 2015 U.n.-backed nu­clear deal with Iran.

Trump faces an Oct. 15 dead­line to say whether Iran is com­ply­ing with terms of the deal and whether he con­sid­ers the agree­ment to be in the U.S. na­tional in­ter­est. His ad­min­is­tra­tion has re­cently sig­naled that he is likely to say no, rais­ing the specter of re­newed U.S. sanc­tions and the pos­si­bil­ity

that the deal would fall apart.

“You’ll see what I’m go­ing to be do­ing very shortly in Oc­to­ber,” Trump told re­porters Thursday when asked about his de­ci­sion. “The Iran deal is one of the worst deals I’ve ever seen. Cer­tainly, at a min­i­mum, the spirit of the deal is atro­ciously kept.”

The pres­i­dent added: “The Iran deal is not a fair deal to this coun­try. It’s a deal that should not have ever been made. We are not go­ing to stand what they are do­ing with our coun­try. They’ve vi­o­lated so many dif­fer­ent el­e­ments, and they’ve also vi­o­lated the spirit of that deal.”

Most who will be in the au­di­ence for Trump’s speech dis­agree. The Euro­pean Union, one of the ar­chi­tects of the deal, hopes to hold a meet­ing of the sig­na­to­ries, in­clud­ing Iran, on the side­lines of the Gen­eral As­sem­bly ses­sion.

“This agree­ment is a very im­por­tant agree­ment,” U.N. Sec­re­tary Gen­eral An­tónio Guter­res said Wed­nes­day. “It con­trib­uted to an im­por­tant de-es­ca­la­tion at the mo­ment, and it is a fac­tor of sta­bil­ity. And it’s my opin­ion that all par­ties should do ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble for this agree­ment to be pre­served.”

White House of­fi­cials sketched out an am­bi­tious se­ries of events for Trump, in­clud­ing bi­lat­eral meet­ings Mon­day with French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron and Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu.

Trump is ex­pected to fo­cus on “Iran’s desta­bi­liz­ing be­hav­ior, in­clud­ing its vi­o­la­tion of the sovereignty of na­tions across the Mid­dle East,” na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser H.R. Mcmaster told re­porters Fri­day.

The pres­i­dent also will have lunch with Guter­res, and he’ll meet with lead­ers of Jor­dan, the Pales­tinian Au­thor­ity, the United King­dom, Egypt, Tur­key, Afghanistan and Ukraine. And Trump will hold a tri­lat­eral din­ner with Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe and South Korean Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in to dis­cuss North Korea’s nu­clear weapons threat.

While Trump’s de­but Tues­day is per­haps the most highly an­tic­i­pated mo­ment, the U.N. gath­er­ing is also no­table for who will not be there — Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin or China’s Xi Jin­ping, who are both skip­ping this year’s meet­ing. Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto head of Myan­mar, also will not at­tend amid a spate of gov­ern­ment-backed eth­nic vi­o­lence in that coun­try that has drawn in­ter­na­tional con­dem­na­tion.

Trump has been a skep­tic of in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions such as the U.N. and NATO. He has pulled the United States out of the Paris cli­mate agree­ment and an Asia-pa­cific trade ac­cord, pro­mot­ing a for­eign pol­icy aimed at lim­it­ing U.S. in­ter­ven­tion­ism abroad in fa­vor of do­mes­tic pri­or­i­ties.

Yet Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials said the pres­i­dent and his team are in­tent on hav­ing a strong pres­ence and demon­strat­ing lead­er­ship in New York on is­sues in­clud­ing ter­ror­ism, trade and hu­man rights. Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence and U.S. Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son will join Trump in the U.S. del­e­ga­tion.

“No one is go­ing to grip-and­grin,” U.N. Am­bas­sador Nikki Ha­ley said of hand­shake pho­toops. “The United States is go­ing to work. This is a time to be se­ri­ous, and it’s a time for us to talk out th­ese chal­lenges and make sure there’s ac­tion that fol­lows it.”

As he did with NATO, Trump has pressed the U.N. for re­forms, and Ha­ley em­pha­sized that the ad­min­is­tra­tion has seen im­prove­ments. She said the world body has moved away from “fo­cus­ing on the com­mas and the pe­ri­ods” of tooth­less res­o­lu­tions and be­gun tak­ing stronger ac­tions.

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