Trump’s ever-changing plan to discuss Iran at the UN is classic White House chaos

In 2017, Trump attacked Iran from the UN podium.
In 2017, Trump attacked Iran from the UN podium.
Image: AP Photo/Richard Drew
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The international community is gaining insight into the White House’s idiosyncratic approach to planning, this week.

Donald Trump is preparing to chair a special Security Council meeting at the United Nations General Assembly in New York next week, but the stated purpose of the meeting keeps changing. Is it about Iran (as Donald Trump seems to believe) or not (as the council’s less confrontational members might prefer)?

Sept. 4: Trump’s UN ambassador Nikki Haley announces the US president will hold a special Security Council meeting “to address Iran’s violations of international law and the general instability Iran sows throughout the entire Middle East region.”

Sept. 5: Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif complains that the US plans to “abuse” its Security Council presidency in order to attack Iran.

Following two weeks: US allies Britain and France quietly make clear they would have to defend the Iran nuclear deal if Trump attacks it in New York. According to UN protocol, Iran would also have a right to appear at the meeting and defend itself.

Sept. 20: The White House folds and takes Iran off the agenda, at least formally. Trump’s UN schedule lists the Security Council meeting topic as “Counter-proliferation.” Haley claims they broadened the discussion because Trump “did not want to be limited” to just Iran.

Sept. 21: