Iran: Tensions Over Nuke Deal & Barbs Over Parade Attack
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and US President Donald Trump are set to speak from the same dais on Tuesday amid a recent exchange of barbs between Tehran and Washington, which could spill over into their General Assembly remarks. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday that Trump would be willing to engage in 'constructive dialogue' with Iranian officials, including on the sidelines of the General Assembly, but it's unclear whether this will be possible amid recent tensions between the two countries. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted that he had "no plans" to meet Rouhani "despite requests."
Already-poor relations between the two countries took a turn for the worse over the weekend, after a terrorist attack at a military parade in southern Iran killed at least 25 people and injured scores more. Iran's Supreme Leader has accused Washington's "puppets" Saudi Arabia and the UAE of complicity in the attack. President Rouhani has already decried US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley after she intimated that Tehran itself was to blame for the attack, and asked Americans to reflect on how they would react if Iran made similar remarks about the 9/11 attacks.
Syria: Idlib Deal & More
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Russia's representative at this year's General Assembly, will lead his delegation in the Syria talks. UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura will also be taking part in high-level talks on Idlib. The UN has pleaded with Syria and its allies not to launch an operation to liberate Idlib, warning that doing so could lead to a "humanitarian catastrophe."
Korean Peninsula: Pompeo Set to Meet With North Korean Counterpart
Secretary Pompeo confirmed that it has invited North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-Ho to meet on the sidelines of the General Assembly. South Korean President Moon Jae-in met with President Trump on Monday, handing Trump a message, its contents unknown, from Kim Jong-un.
Russia's Message to the UN
In his many meetings on the sidelines of the General Assembly, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov is expected to focus on the over-arching theme of boosting the UN's role in international relations and promoting the creation of a multi-polar world order, as well as preventing some states' attempts to destabilize the system of international affairs.
Lavrov is also expected to focus on the Iranian nuclear deal, Syria and North Korea, as well as the situation in the breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine, where elections are expected to be held in November. That region has faced an uneasy ceasefire since 2015, with Russia serving as a guarantor of the Minsk agreements. On Syria, it is believed that Lavrov will touch on fears of new staged chemical attacks in the province of Idlib, aimed at prompting a Western military response.