The Trump administration urged the United Nations Security Council on Monday to take action to address Iran’s ballistic missile tests and arms transfers to Houthi rebels in Yemen, steps top officials said were essential to preserving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley led the 14 other members of the Security Council on a trip to Washington that included lunch with President Donald Trump and a stop at a military hangar to see what the U.S. says is evidence that Iran is arming Houthi rebels in Yemen. They also visited an exhibit on Syria at the Holocaust museum.
Ms. Haley said she pressed fellow Security Council members: “‘If you don’t do anything about all of these violations, I can’t promise you that we’re staying in the deal,’” she said. “Something has to be done.”
The goal of the trip to Washington wasn’t to focus on the 2015 nuclear accord, but on other concerns about Iran’s behavior in the Middle East, she said.
“Even though the nuclear deal is one thing, we can’t tiptoe around Iran and give them a pass on all of these other things,” she said. Iranian officials didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The nuclear accord came up during a lunch with Mr. Trump, where they also discussed Yemen, North Korea and Syria. The administration is discussing the international agreement with European allies ahead of a May deadline set by Mr. Trump to halt sanctions relief without changes in the deal.
Mr. Trump told the U.N. ambassadors he believed the nuclear agreement is “a really bad deal.” He also told them that other actions by Iran are “clear violations” that require action.
A U.N. panel of experts concluded in a report earlier this month that Iran violated an arms embargo by supplying weapons to Yemeni rebels. But at a meeting last week, several countries including Russia, China and others said the conclusion was “circumstantial” and not sufficient to merit Council action, according to sanctions experts familiar with the meeting.
At Monday’s White House meeting, all 15 members of the Security Council had representatives present, a U.S. official said.
The ambassadors, including Russia’s ambassador the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia, posed for photos with Mr. Trump, though not in the Oval Office.
Mr. Trump reiterated his positions on a range of issues in conversations with envoys, Ms. Haley said. “‘He wasn’t anything like we see on TV,’” Ms. Haley said several ambassadors told her after the lunch.
The president and China’s recently arrived envoy to the United Nations, Ma Zhaoxu, discussed the relationship between Mr. Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Mr. Trump “kind of jabbed” the ambassador about trade, Ms. Haley said.
Mr. Trump and Russia’s ambassador Mr. Nebenzia also exchanged views on tensions between Washington and Moscow.
“The Russian ambassador said that many ambassadors tell him that the relationship between the United States and Russia is important because if U.S.-Russian relations are good, then everybody else feels like the world is good,” Ms. Haley said.
She said Mr. Trump “held the line” in discussions of Syria and Ukraine, where Moscow and Washington have deep differences. She said Mr. Trump told the Russian ambassador “that something had to happen there before we could just hold hands and be best friends.”
Ms. Haley said two ambassadors from African countries thanked Mr. Trump for sending a letter to the African Union about Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s upcoming visit. Mr. Trump recently referred to Haiti and countries in Africa as “shithole countries.”
Ms. Haley didn’t specify which ambassadors thanked Mr. Trump. Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea and Ethiopia all currently hold rotating seats on the Security Council.
Source » wsj