News / USA

Obama UN Speech to Address Iran Nuclear Issue, Syria

President Barack Obama walks from the Oval Office of the White House along the colonnade before traveling to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Sept. 23, 2013.
President Barack Obama walks from the Oval Office of the White House along the colonnade before traveling to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Sept. 23, 2013.
In his speech to the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday, President Barack Obama will address overtures from Iran, steps to eliminate Syrian chemical weapons, and Israel-Palestinian peace talks.  

Obama is expected to speak directly to world leaders about recent Iranian overtures, and on Syria about what he sees as the world's responsibility to firmly oppose the use of chemical weapons.

But White House officials say he also intends to speak about how the U.S. sees events and complex challenges in the Middle East and North Africa, including the situation in Syria, and how these relate to U.S. interests.

At an event Monday discussing global challenges to civil society, Obama provided a possible preview of what he may say about what he called “convulsions” in the Arab world.

He said they are a reminder that change is “not always a smooth path” but is something the United States is committed to.

“I want to affirm that over the long run, we will all be better off if that small shopkeeper or that small farmer or that young student or that disabled person or that gay or lesbian person or that ethnic minority or that religious minority, if they have a voice and their dignity is respected, that is what will preserve our dignity and that is what will preserve our security over the long term,” Obama said.

On Syria, the White House has said Obama will call for the international community to take a firm position against the use of chemical weapons.

He also will urge leaders to support a U.N. Security Council resolution to enforce consequences if the Bashar al-Assad government fails to cooperate with steps to bring Syrian chemical stockpiles under international control.

As for hopes of a possible thaw in U.S.-Iranian relations, amid overtures by Iranian President Hasan Rouhani, White House officials continue to say that no meeting is scheduled.

Iran will hold talks with the P5+1 group of nations, including the United States, this week in New York.

Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said no single meeting or encounter will solve all issues between the U.S. and Iran, but that the U.S. remains open to engagement.

"The issues between the United States and Iran are not ones that would be settled in any one discussion and there [are] longstanding differences, particularly related to the nuclear program," he said.

The Iranian leader addresses the General Assembly session Tuesday after Obama speaks to world leaders.  Rouhani has recently said Iran has no intention to develop nuclear weapons.

There was new pressure Monday on Obama from key Republican and Democratic senators, who urged him use his speech to state again that Iran will not be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon.  

The president also will also use his speech to take note of the direct talks Israel and Palestinians are holding on final status issues and opportunities these present.

On Tuesday, Obama meets Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on the sidelines of the General Assembly session.  He meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on September 30.

The president also meets with Lebanon's President Michel Suleiman, focusing on challenges Lebanon is facing from thousands of refugees from Syria and support for Lebanon's democratic process.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Secret Service Head to be Questioned Over White House Intruder

Julia Pierson will be questioned about the latest break-in well as several other embarrassing incidents involving the agency More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid