Iran’s Raisi celebrates end of US ‘hegemony’ in UN diatribe

The way Raisi tells it, Trump and Biden were the presidents at the end of the American era

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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi hailed the end of US “hegemony” in world affairs, pointing to America’s political divisions and its military withdrawals from Afghanistan and Iraq during his address to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.

Mr Raisi said the violent assault on Congress by disaffected supporters of former president Donald Trump in January and the hasty US exit from Afghanistan last month underscored the waning of America’s global influence.

“From the Capitol to Kabul, one clear message was sent to the world: the US hegemonic system has no credibility, whether inside or outside the country,” he told the annual UN assembly in a pre-recorded video message.

“What is seen in our region today proves that not only the hegemonist and the idea of hegemony, but also the project of imposing westernised identity have failed miserably.”

The inauguration of hardliner Mr Raisi as Iran’s president last month signalled that already testy relations between Tehran and Washington would only worsen, even as both countries seek to revive a 2015 multi-nation nuclear deal.

In his comments to the UN General Assembly, he parodied Mr Trump’s go-it-alone rhetoric and also his successor Joe Biden’s efforts to burnish America’s global standing by focusing on multilateralism.

“Today, the world doesn’t care about 'America First' or 'America is back',” Mr Raisi said in reference to the policies of the successive US administrations.

“Nations’ perseverance is stronger than the power of the superpowers.”

Mr Raisi’s speech came after Mr Biden addressed the UN. The US president had tried to build bridges with other leaders even as he insisted that Iran should be prevented from building nuclear weapons.

Efforts were under way in New York to hold talks on bringing the US and Iran back into compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, which has been slowly falling apart since Mr Trump unilaterally exited the pact in 2018, saying it did too little to stop Tehran’s muscle-flexing in the region.

Updated: September 21, 2021, 8:31 PM