US 'trampled upon' 2015 nuclear deal, Iran's Raisi tells UN

Iranian president lambasts lopsided scrutiny of his country’s nuclear activities while other nations’ programmes remain secret

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi holds up a picture of Qassem Suleimani as he addresses the UN General Assembly. AFP
Powered by automated translation

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said that the US “trampled upon” the 2015 nuclear deal when it pulled out of the accords and he demanded guarantees before Tehran returns to the pact.

Speaking on Wednesday before the UN General Assembly in New York, he said he wanted to avoid a repeat of former US president Donald Trump's exit from the pact in 2018 if a new deal is reached.

“Our wish is only one thing: observance of commitments,” Mr Raisi said, asking whether Iran can “truly trust without guarantees and assurances” that the US will live up to its commitments this time around.

“The American government trampled upon the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action],” Mr Raisi said in his first in-person UN speech since he took office last year.

He also blasted what he said was lopsided scrutiny of Iran’s nuclear activities while other nations’ nuclear programmes remain secret — a veiled reference to Israel.

Despite Iran's spat with the US, Mr Raisi said his country wants to have “extensive relations” with the world's countries, particularly neighbouring states.

“Regional security must be born from within and not from the outside,” he said, echoing the comments UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres made in his opening speech.

“And the way to realise that is collaboration and co-operation, not by forming opposing blocs.”

Speech overshadowed by protests at home

Iran has been gripped by protests following the death in Tehran last week of Mahsa Amini, 22, in morality police custody.

Former US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley posted a video on Twitter showing signs in New York that accuse Mr Raisi of being a killer.

Others such as prominent Iranian-American activist Masih Alinejad criticised President Joe Biden for approving Mr Raisi's visa to the US to attend the international meeting.

“Where are you, Joe Biden? You gave a visa to Mahsa Amini's killer and the murderer of millions of Iranians but are totally silent about the brutality of Raisi's regime against ongoing protests in Iran,” she wrote on Twitter.

“Shame on you.”

But Mr Raisi accused the West of having “double standards” on human rights and pointed to the deaths of indigenous women in Canada and the Israeli treatment of Palestinians.

“[If] we have these double standards where attention is solely focused on one side and not all equally, we won't have true justice and fairness,” he said.

Mr Raisi also called for a “fair tribunal” to bring to justice those who carried out the operation that killed Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) head Qassem Suleimani in 2020 via drone attack.

“The previous president of the US effectively managed to sign the document of the savage and illegal and immoral crime,” he said in reference to Mr Trump.

“We will pursue, through a fair tribunal, to bring to justice those who martyred our beloved Gen Qassem Suleimani.”

Updated: September 21, 2022, 5:45 PM