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US Envoy To UN Says US Has 'Other Tools' If Iran's Behavior Does Not Change

Kelly Craft, US envoy to the United Nations, File photo.
Abridged version of an AP report from United Nations-

U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft warned Iran on Friday that the Trump administration will keep up its maximum pressure campaign and use “other tools” if Tehran continues its “malicious behavior.”

The United States holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council in December and on Thursday Craft arranged for members to have lunch with President Donald Trump at the White House, which she said was relaxed, “very constructive,” covered many important issues including North Korea, and ran over by an hour. She is also taking members to her native Kentucky for the weekend of Dec. 13-15 and to a Brooklyn restaurant that trains refugees and trafficking victims on Dec. 9 along with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

On major world issues, Craft told reporters the United States will respond to human rights abuses in North Korea, Iran and elsewhere, saying in “every corner of the world we’ve got human rights issues.”

On Iran, the U.S. ambassador was responding to recent demonstrations over rising gas prices where hundreds of protesters were reportedly killed. The protests showed the widespread economic discontent gripping Iran since May 2018, when Trump imposed crushing sanctions after unilaterally withdrawing the United States from the nuclear agreement that Tehran struck with world powers in 2015. That decision has seen Iran begin to break limits of the deal.

“What I care about is the government is mistreating and abusing the people,” Craft said. “We have not seen any change in this behavior,” especially in the Middle East.

She called Iran “a bad actor” saying “we are going to see upheaval whether in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, wherever it is” until the U.S. maximum pressure campaign produces results.

“We have a lot of tools to use and we will continue to use those with Iran,” Craft said. “We are taking this very serious (cq). And there are other tools that we will use against Iran if they continue this malicious behavior.”

She said leaders in Iran and Iraq — where at least 400 people have died since Oct. 1 in an uprising against the government, corruption and lack of jobs — must understand that the United States opposes violence against protesters, and believes it’s crucial for their governments to step back, allow people to demonstrate peacefully, and listen especially to young people because they are the future.

The ambassador also has a special treat for council members in Kentucky, where they will dine with the governor and attend a University of Kentucky basketball game: They will go to a distillery on Sunday morning Dec. 15 for bourbon tastings. Craft said all 15 members have to agree on their favorite, and will then receive bottles as “a great memory of the Kentucky trip.”

Craft said she hopes when they get on the plane later to return to New York “”they’re feeling great.”