Small Wars Journal

UN Chief Warns Of 'Alarming Possibility' Of Persian Gulf Conflict As He Opens General Assembly

Tue, 09/24/2019 - 11:29am

UN Chief Warns Of 'Alarming Possibility' Of Persian Gulf Conflict As He Opens General Assembly

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has opened the annual UN General Assembly debate in New York, painting a grim picture of a deeply divided and anxious planet facing a climate crisis, spreading terrorism, rising inequality, and "the alarming possibility" of a conflict in the Persian Gulf.

Describing a recent attack on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia as "unacceptable," Guterres urged world leaders gathered at the UN headquarters in New York on September 24 to use "reason and restraint" in the Middle East.

Tensions in the region have escalated over the September 14 attack, which the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Western European countries have blamed on Iran, which denies any involvement.

U.S. President Donald Trump is planning to tell the General Assembly later in the day that the United States "does not seek conflict with any other nation" and wants "peace, cooperation, and mutual gain with all," according to excerpts from his address provided to news agencies.

But Trump will also say he "will never fail to defend America's interests."

Upon arriving at the UN, the U.S. president told reporters he was in a "very strong position" with Iran.

Tehran and Washington have been at loggerheads since the United States last year withdrew from a 2015 international deal between Iran and world powers, under which Iran agreed to rein in its nuclear activities in return for an easing of sanctions.

The United States has since reimposed crippling sanctions on the Iranian economy, and Tehran has begun reducing some of its commitments under the nuclear accord.