The week preceding the UN General Debate was marked by a number of unusually strong statements by US officials on Iran. Various high-ranking figures — from National Security Adviser John Bolton's "we will come after you," to Trump's ally and lawyer Rudy Giuliani calling for a new Iranian revolution and promising to "overthrow them."
Iranian officials reacted in a firm, but polite manner, pointing to Washington's broken promises and criticizing the lack of continuity on the part of US officials when it comes to the Iran Deal:
This US govt withdrawing from a multilateral agreement adopted by the Security Council invites us to bilateral talks. Dismissing the basic principle of state continuity it violates state obligations affirmed by its predecessor. #UNGA— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) September 25, 2018
Just like many other key players, Russia wants to protect the Iran deal. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, who addressed members of the UN Security Council, defended Tehran's work when it comes to the nuclear issue:
"Tehran is strictly abiding by its commitments within JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) and this is something that IAA is regularly confirming. Russia is convinced that we have to keep JCPOA and this is something that we're actively working on together with China and the EU."
Aside from Theresa May's remarks about the "Salisbury poisoning case," Russia wasn't mentioned in a negative light. It looks like May didn't want to hear Russia's part of the story, since she left the Security Council meeting immediately after her speech, without waiting for Sergey Lavrov's comments.
With the amount of anti-Russia accusations, and with the level of anti-Russia rhetoric in her speech, Theresa May chose not to wait for a response from FM Lavrov, walking out of the UN Security Council meeting before Lavrov spoke. pic.twitter.com/SWZV22X2DN— Denis Bolotsky (@BolotskySputnik) September 26, 2018
Lavrov stressed that the UK has refused to cooperate with Russia on the Salisbury investigation, which violates a number of internationally accepted norms.
Other Western leaders, including Donald Trump, did not mention Russia in a negative way, as it was for many years in a row when Barack Obama was in office.
I talked to Russian senator, head of Federation Council Foreign Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev today at the UN HQ. He says that lack of anti-Russia rhetoric at this year’s UN GA “is a kind of a surprise” for him. pic.twitter.com/2U1difrelb— Denis Bolotsky (@BolotskySputnik) September 26, 2018
Russian Senator and Head of International Affairs Committee of the Federation Council Konstantin Kosachev told Sputnik that this new trend in Western politics was a surprise for him:
"I believe that this group of Western countries started to understand that the world is much more complicated than just black-and-white and that in order to achieve sustainable solutions to global problems, one needs to involve each and every country, each and every potential opportunity to have collective efforts in place."
The Russian delegation at the 73rd UN General Assembly will continue its work throughout the week. It's expected that the country's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will take part in the General Debate sessions and will be holding a number of bilateral talks on the sidelines of the main event.