What Happened: During a televised Sept. 22 speech commemorating the 1980s Iran-Iraq war, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani condemned a planned deployment of additional U.S. forces and equipment to the Persian Gulf area, saying foreign troops have always brought "pain and misery" to the region, the BBC reported. Rouhani added that he would present a regional peace initiative at the U.N. General Assembly this week that would help achieve security and stability around the Strait of Hormuz.
Why It Matters: This week's meeting of world leaders in New York will give Iran a stage on which to defend itself and marshal support for its regional plan as the United States seeks support for its maximum pressure campaign against Iran. In his statement, Rouhani revisited a common Iranian complaint about the presence of U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf region, one of the aggravating factors in the Iran-Saudi Arabia standoff.
Background: On Sept. 20, the United States announced a moderate deployment of troops to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to provide defense support in the wake of the Sept. 14 attacks on oil facilities belonging to the Saudi Arabian Oil Co. The United States firmly blames Iran for the attacks, while regional actors, including Saudi Arabia, have been more hesitant to assign blame.
- Q&A: Why Did Iran Attack Saudi Arabia? (Sept. 20, 2019)
- Saudi Oil Infrastructure Offers a Target-Rich Environment for Iran (Sept. 19, 2019)
- Iran May Be Weak, But Its Strategy Is Working (Sept. 12, 2019)