Sep 21, 2022 - World

Iran's Raisi: "America trampled upon the nuclear accord"

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. Photo: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. Photo: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi used his speech at the UN General Assembly on Wednesday to attack the U.S. over the 2015 nuclear deal.

Why it matters: Raisi’s tough speech was another sign that Iran is not willing to make compromises and that the nuclear talks are at a stalemate.

What he's saying: Raisi criticized the U.S., saying, “America trampled upon the nuclear accord."

  • Pointing to the Iranian supreme leader’s religious Fatwa banning nuclear weapons, Raisi claimed Iran’s nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes — a claim disputed by the U.S. and other Western powers.
  • He added that while Iran’s nuclear program is under international scrutiny, Western powers are not saying anything about other nuclear programs, referring to Israel.

Raisi also called U.S. sanctions “weapons of mass destruction” against Iran and stressed that Iran paid the price for the nuclear deal without getting any benefits.

  • “We showed a lot of flexibility in the talks with the U.S. … We need guarantees because of our bad experience with the U.S. that withdrew from the deal," Raisi said.
  • Tehran wants the U.S. to guarantee it won't pull out of the nuclear deal again, but U.S. officials have made it clear they can't tie the hands of a future administration.
  • Raisi added that after 18 months of talks with the Biden administration, Iran doubts the U.S. really wants to return to the nuclear deal.

During his speech, Raisi pulled out a photo of Qasem Soleimani, the leader of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps who was assassinated by the U.S. in January 2020.

  • He vowed that Iran would continue its efforts to bring former U.S. President Trump, who ordered the strike, to justice.

State of play: The indirect talks between Iran and the U.S. continued on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, with EU mediators holding separate meetings with U.S. envoy Rob Malley and Iranian negotiator Ali Bagheri.

  • Raisi met with French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss the nuclear deal and also expressed a tough position and demanded guarantees. Macron said after the meeting that the ball is in Iran’s court.

The big picture: Raisi gave his speech amid growing protests in Iran over the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who was arrested by the morality police for allegedly violating religious law requiring women to wear a headscarf.

  • Amini died in the police station several hours after her arrest. Multiple media reports suggested she had a stroke after being beaten by Iranian police officers.
  • Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Tuesday that Iran will investigate Amini’s death.
  • Raisi didn’t mention the demonstrations over Amini’s death in his UN speech.
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