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Iran's president warns U.N. that a "single blunder" could "fuel big fire" in Persian Gulf region

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday warned world leaders that tensions are high in the Persian Gulf region and that a "single blunder" could "fuel a big fire." Rouhani made the comments while speaking at the 74th United Nations General Assembly. 

The Iranian president directly addressed President Trump, calling him the "incumbent" U.S. president. "Our response to any negotiations under sanctions is negative," he said.

Rouhani called out the U.S. for "international piracy" and "merciless economic terrorism," referring to the increase in U.S. sanctions. 

United Nations General Assembly Iran
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. Craig Ruttle / AP

When asked about negotiations at the U.N. this week, Mr. Trump said, "We are in a strong position" with Iran. 

"After four decades of failure, it is time for Iran's leaders to step forward and to stop threatening other countries and focus on building up their own country. America is ready to embrace friendship with all who genuinely seek peace and respect," he said. "Many of America's closest friends today were once our gravest foes. The U.S. has never believed in permanent enemies."

U.S. Acting Special Envoy for Hostage Affairs Hugh Dugan was in the U.S. seat while Iran's leader spoke, while Mr. Trump focused on the impeachment inquiry and was expected to meet with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky before he departs New York.

Iran's president said he was neither interested in negotiations nor a "memento photo" with Trump. Rouhani said that the region is "on the edge of collapse." He pointed to conflicts in Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq, and said that the Trump administration was not able to bring peace to the conflicts in those countries. Since the U.S. withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal, the Trump administration has imposed biting sanctions and prevented other nations from continuing to trade with Iran.

At the U.N. on Wednesday, the European Union's High Representative Federica Mogherini met with the ministers of China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom, and said, "We all welcome the efforts that have been made to open channels of dialogue," adding that all other countries are trying to preserve the agreement.

Mogherini added that Iran's actions to break the deal's nuclear deal's limits "are reversible."

"Our patience has a limit," Rouhani warned.

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