Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi used his speech to the UN General Assembly on Wednesday to attack the US over the 2015 nuclear deal.
Why it matters: Raisi’s harsh speech was another sign that Iran is unwilling to compromise and that nuclear talks have stalled.
What he says: Raisi criticized the US, saying “America has trampled on the nuclear deal.”
- Referring to the Iranian Supreme Leader’s religious fatwa banning nuclear weapons, Raisi claimed that Iran’s nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only – a claim disputed by the US and other Western powers.
- He added that while Iran’s nuclear program is under international scrutiny, Western powers have said nothing about other nuclear programs, referring to Israel.
Raisi also called US sanctions “weapons of mass destruction” against Iran and stressed that Iran paid the price for the nuclear deal without receiving any benefits.
- “We have shown a lot of flexibility in talks with the US… We need guarantees because of our bad experience with the US pulling out of the deal,” Raisi said.
- Tehran wants the US to guarantee it will not back out of the nuclear deal, but US officials have made it clear they cannot tie the hands of any future government.
- Raisi added that after 18 months of talks with the Biden administration, Iran doubts the US really wants to return to the nuclear deal.
During his speech Raisi pulled out a photo of Qasem Soleimani, the leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force who was assassinated by the US in January 2020.
- He pledged that Iran would continue its efforts to bring to justice former US President Trump, who ordered the strike.
Game Status: Indirect talks between Iran and the US continued on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, with EU mediators holding separate meetings with US envoy Rob Malley and Iranian negotiator Ali Bagheri.
- Raisi met with French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss the nuclear deal, also expressed a tough position and called for guarantees. Macron said after the meeting that the ball was in Iran’s hands.
The big picture: Raisi delivered his speech amid growing protests in Iran over the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who was arrested by vice squads for allegedly violating religious law requiring women to wear a headscarf.
- Amini died at the police station several hours after her arrest. Several media reports suggest that she suffered a stroke after being beaten by Iranian police officers.
- Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said Tuesday Iran would investigate Amini’s death.
- Raisi did not mention the demonstrations over Amini’s death in his UN speech.