Focusing on ISIS in U.N. speech, Obama virtually ignores Iran

Uriel Heilman, JTA

NEW YORK — President Obama devoted the bulk of his U.N. speech to the fight violent Islamic extremism and all but ignored the subject of Iran’s nuclear program.

Tehran’s nuclear pursuits were a major focus of Obama’s address last year at the U.N. General Assembly, but at this year’s General Assembly, Iran got just a couple of lines in Obama’s remarks.


“We can reach a solution that meets your energy needs while assuring the world that your program is peaceful,” Obama said, calling on the Islamic Republic to demonstrate that its program is for civilian purposes, not weapons.

“Obama devoted only 78 words at #UNGA to greatest threat to world peace, the #Iran nuclear threat; 1,540 words to #ISIS,” the American Jewish Committee’s Global Jewish Advocacy project noted in a tweet.

Near the speech’s conclusion, Obama also devoted a few lines to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“Leadership will be necessary to address the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis,” he said. “As bleak as the landscape appears, America will not give up on the pursuit of peace.”

The current turmoil in the Middle East should disabuse anyone of the mistaken notion that the Arab-Israeli conflict is somehow the root of all Middle East conflict, Obama said, noting that the turmoil has made too many Israelis ready to abandon the hard work of peace – something Israelis should reflect on, he said.

“The status quo in the West Bank and Gaza is not sustainable,” Obama said. “We cannot afford to turn away from this effort, not when rockets are fired at innocent Israelis or when the lives of so many Palestinian children are taken from us in Gaza.”

He said, “Israelis, Palestinians, the region and the world will be more just and safe with two states living side by side in peace and security.”