0135 GMT February 17, 2019
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who arrived in New York on Sunday, took advantage of his visit to the United States to meet with world leaders who have gathered in the American city to attend the 73rd annual session of the United Nations General Assembly.
Before his speech at the annual UN General Assembly on Tuesday, the Iranian president held several meetings with a number of world leaders, attended a meeting with US media officials and gave an interview to the American television, NBC.
He also addressed Nelson Mandela Peace Summit which was held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session on Monday.
Call for strengthening multilateralism
He used the summit to reiterate Tehran's continued call for strengthening multilateralism and developing international peace and cooperation in the world.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran, during the past decades has presented before this august forum inspiring initiatives as “Dialogue among Civilizations” and “World Against Violence and Extremism” in line with strengthening multilateralism and developing international peace and cooperation. Iran remains firm and resolute in its intention and warmly shakes the hands of all pro-peace and pro-tolerance leaders," Rouhani said.
Economic ties with Turkey
Also on Monday, the Iranian president held a meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during which the two leaders exchanged views about a range of issues, including the latest developments in the world and economic relations between Tehran and Ankara.
Rouhani stressed the necessity to speed up the implementation of agreements reached between the two neighbors.
He said Iran welcomes the active presence of Turkish investors and companies in the Islamic Republic’s development projects.
He also underlined the importance of mutual cooperation between the two countries in efforts to resolve the Syrian issue and said Tehran is ready to help the issue of Syria’s Idlib within the framework of trilateral talks between Iran, Turkey, and Russia.
Erdogan called for closer ties between the two countries in the era of US sanctions on Iran and said Ankara will side with Tehran to counter the embargoes.
Erdogan also said that the world is no longer facing “the phenomenon of terrorism, but terrorist governments.”
Resistance against US
Rouhani also held talks with his Bolivian and Cuban counterparts on Monday.
During his meeting with his Bolivian counterpart, Evo Morales, Rouhani emphasized the need for both the Iranian and Bolivian nations to put up resistance to American interventionism and unilateralism.
Touching on the US unilateral and illegal withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, Rouhani said, “The international community must stand firmly against the Americans’ violation of this agreement.”
“Today, the international community, with the exception of a few countries, has adopted a decisive stance on the US move, and we should try to show that those who breach international laws will never have the approval of the world’s public opinion,” he added.
Back in May, President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the 2015 Iran deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), despite objections from the other signatories to the accord.
In his meeting with Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, Rouhani stressed the numerous grounds available for closer political, economic and scientific interaction between Tehran and Havana, describing joint action against terrorism around the world as one of the main areas of bilateral cooperation.
The Cuban leader praised Iran’s smart and decisive behavior in the nuclear talks, and slammed the US withdrawal from the nuclear agreement as a major threat to international treaties and to regional security.
Diaz-Canel also voiced the Latin American nation’s willingness to enhance relations with Iran is various fields.
Rouhani also met Afghanistan's Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah in New York.
He referred to the recent deadly terrorist attack in the Iranian city of Ahvaz, saying the incident underlined the need for unity in the fight against terrorism.
“Many terrorist groups in the region have either been created by or have the support of America,” he said.
On September 22, terrorists opened fire on people who had gathered in Ahvaz to watch an annual military parade. At least 25 people, both military personnel and civilians, were killed and dozens more sustained injuries.
“After the Islamic Revolution, terrorist activities in Iran were carried out by those who are now present in these Western states and enjoy the backing of certain regional countries,” he said.
“As and when these countries themselves fall victim to terrorist attacks, they voice concerns about terrorism and [highlight the need] to fight it, but they keep supporting the terrorists in our region.”
No meeting with Trump
Iranian president, who had a busy day in the second day of his stay in New York, gave an interview with NBC News.
The president told NBC News that he had no plans to meet Trump during his visit to New York as long as the White House was sticking to its policy of sanctions and threats against the Islamic Republic.
“There is no such program for a meeting,” he said. “Naturally, if someone is keen on having a meeting and holding dialogue and creating progress in relationships, they would not use the tool of sanctions and threats [and bring] to bear all of their power against another government and nation. That means that the necessary willpower for resolving outstanding issues is absent.”
After leaving the nuclear deal, the United States re-imposed a first tranche of economic sanctions against Iran in August and is due to re-introduce sanctions on the country’s oil and gas industry as of November 4.
Rouhani further emphasized that Iran could withstand US economic sanctions and described Washington’s threats to choke off Iranian oil exports as an “empty threat.”
“The United States is not capable of bringing our oil exports to zero,” he told NBC. “It’s a threat that is empty of credibility. Perhaps on this path, we will sustain certain pressures but the United States will certainly not achieve its objective.”
IRNA, Press TV, Tasnim News Agency contributed to this story.