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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regreti
X
Zana Omer
March 28, 2015 1:19 AM
The Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

The Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Virginia Tavern Takes Patrons Back to Medieval Times

European martial arts are not widely practiced and are unknown by most people. A tavern in Old Town Alexandria, outside Washington, wants to change this by promoting these fighting techniques from medieval times. Through combining visual arts, martial arts and culinary arts, this tavern brings medieval history back to life. VOA's Yang Lin and Helen Wu report.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More