On September 21, President Ebrahim Raisi expressed support for diplomatic negotiations to restore full U.S. and Iranian compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal. “We want nothing more than what is rightfully ours. We demand the implementation of international rules,” he said during his debut address to the United Nations. “All parties must stay true to the nuclear deal and the U.N. Resolution in practice.”
In his pre-recorded speech, the hardline cleric repeatedly condemned the United States for imposing economic sanctions on Iran. “The Islamic Republic considers the useful talks whose ultimate outcome is the lifting of all oppressive (U.S.) sanctions,” he said. In 2018, President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed wide-ranging sanctions. Raisi said that the punitive measures, “especially in the area of humanitarian items,” amounted to an “organized crime against humanity.” Under U.S. law, humanitarian goods are not subject to sanctions, but some U.S. and foreign companies and banks have been reluctant to do business with Iran for fear of running afoul of the complex U.S. sanctions regime.
Iran’s new president also blamed Washington for many of the region’s ills. He cited the U.S. military presence in Iraq and Syria as “the biggest hindrance” to democracy. “Freedom does not fit in the backpacks of soldiers coming from outside the region.”
But Raisi also declared that U.S. power and influence were waning. The “idea of hegemony, but also the project of imposing Westernized identity have failed miserably,” he said. “Today, the U.S. does not get to exit Iraq and Afghanistan but is expelled.” He added, “The world doesn’t care about ‘America First’ or ‘America is Back,’” recalling policy slogans used by President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden. The following is the official translation of Raisi’s address provided by the Iranian mission to the United Nations.
At the outset allow me to extend my congratulations to Your Excellency for your election as the chair of the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Iran is the land of culture and civilization. The land of knowledge and spirituality. The land of perseverance and independence. The Iranian people are monotheist and patriotic. They have their unique identity and love to explore the world.
For hundreds of years, our nation have safeguarded their right to self-determination and freedom against the hegemonists and have made their country the most progressive in the election-based political system in the west of Asia. The Islamic Revolution was indeed a great leap for the fulfillment of national and Islamic ideals of Iranians including freedom, independence and religious democracy.
I, as the elected President of the great people of Iran, am honored to be their representative to convey to the world at large the message of rationality, justice and freedom which are the three most fundamental principles of the life of the contemporary man. However, those three principles that all the Abrahamic religions have in common will not be able to attain their purpose without spirituality.
Freedom and justice as two sacred and innocent words that are too broad to define, are indeed very tough and intricate when it comes to practicing. Freedom means the right to think, decide and act for all human beings. Peace and lasting security are tied to the administration of justice and, basically, the divine prophets emerged so that people would demand justice and exercise their rights. Justice and freedom may be achieved only when the rights of all nations are fulfilled. As a matter of fact, any violation of the rights of nations will, more than anything, endanger global peace and security.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This year, two scenes made history: one was on January the 6th when the US congress was attacked by the people and, two, when the people of Afghanistan were dropped down from the US planes in August. 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.
What is seen in our region today proves that not only the hegemonist and the idea of hegemony, but also the project of imposing Westernized identity have failed miserably. The result of seeking hegemony has been blood-spilling and instability and, ultimately, defeat and escape. Today, the US does not get to exit Iraq and Afghanistan but is expelled. And, at the same time, it is the oppressed people, from Palestine and Syria to Yemen and Afghanistan, as well as the US taxpayers, who have to pay for this lack of rationality.
Today, the world doesn’t care about “America First” or “America is Back”. If rationality prevails in the minds of the decision-makers, they have to realize that nations’ perseverance is stronger than the power of the superpowers. Over the past decade, the US has been making the mistake of modifying its “way of war” with the world instead of changing its “way of life”. An erroneous path cannot be brought to fruition by merely adopting a different method.
Sanctions are the US’ new way of war with the nations of the world. Sanctions against the Iranian nation started not with my country’s nuclear program; they even predate the Islamic Revolution and go back to the year 1951 when oil nationalization went underway in Iran, which in turn led to a military coup backed by the Americans and the Britons against the then government of Iran that was elected by the people. Sanctions, especially sanctions on medicine at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, are crimes against humanity.
The Holy Quran introduces the destruction of nature and mankind as a major characteristic of the tyrants. The Islamic Republic of Iran proposes that any kind of sanction-induced restriction or disruption in the supply of good health and environment as two humanitarian issues, be declared forbidden. Moreover, I, on behalf of the Iranian nation and millions of refugees hosted by my country, would like to condemn the continued illegal US sanctions especially in the area of humanitarian items, and demand that this organized crime against humanity be recorded as a symbol and reality of the so-called American human rights.
Despite the fact that the Islamic Republic of Iran was keen from the outset to purchase and import COVID-19 vaccines from reliable international sources, it faced inhumane medical sanctions. Therefore, from the very beginning, we started to sustainably produce vaccines domestically.
In addition to peaceful nuclear and satellite technologies, Iran is the medical hub of the region and numerous Iranian physicians and scientists, such as Avicenna, shine in the history of humankind. Knowledge that is beneficial to humanity cannot be sanctioned. We ourselves have been able to produce fuel for the Tehran research reactor which makes radiopharmaceuticals for more than one million cancer patients in Iran. We have also made astonishing progress in the area of biotechnology and stem cells in spite of all sanctions. And today despite all sanctions targeting human rights, we have become one of the manufacturers of COVID-19 vaccines.
Cooperation amongst the countries of the world in the realm of health and especially on vaccines is tantamount to helping the spirit of humanity and the policy based of divinity-humanity in international relations. The Coronavirus is a wake-up call for the whole world, reminding us once again that the security of all human beings are interdependent. Crises in human societies, such as violence, poverty, unemployment, moral and economic corruption, the collapse of family foundations, regional wars, organized terrorism and environmental crises are all the result of inattention to the principles of rationality, justice and freedom.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The strategic thoughts of the Islamic Republic of Iran are rooted in the ideas of the founder of the Islamic Revolution, the late Imam Khomeini (May His Soul Rest in Peace) as well as in the genuine concepts of true Islam, i.e. rationality, prudence and pondering and have resulted in the resistance in line with the national interests of countries. Speaking about the rights of nations without speaking of the obligations of their governments cannot bring about the fulfillment of their rights, as the independence of a nation is its freedom. The Islamic Revolution supports this kind of freedom and, hence, obstructs extremism. And this is the nature of the true strength of the Islamic Republic of Iran which does good to all.
The Islamic Republic of Iran is inspiring and, as such, the power emanating from it creates security. The security-making model of the Islamic Republic of Iran is based on forming intra-regional mechanisms through diplomacy that is pivoted on and free from outside interferences.
It has been our policy to strive for the preservation of stability and territorial integrity of all the countries of the region. If not for the power and role of Iran alongside the governments and peoples of Syria and Iraq as well as all the selfless efforts of Martyrs Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and General Qassem Soleymani, today ISIS would be the Mediterranean neighbors of Europe. And, of course, ISIS will not be the last wave of extremism.
The new drive to come up with Cold War-esque divisions will not help foster the security of humans by isolating independent countries. An arbitrary attitude is not the way to solve terrorism because terrorism has its roots in various crises such as identity and economy. The fact that modern lives have become devoid of meaning and spirituality as well as the spread of poverty, discrimination and oppression have helped the rise of terrorism. The increasing growth of indigenous terrorism in the West bears witness to this bitter truth. Even more bitter is the use of terrorism as an instrument for foreign policy because you cannot fight terrorism with double standards. You cannot make a terrorist group, such as ISIS, in a certain place and claim to fight it somewhere else.
After seeking the grace of the Almighty God, the solution to skirmishes and conflicts in our region lies in the following:
Making the will of nations rule over their own destiny by referring to the results of the public vote. But in order for this to materialize, two basic preconditions need to be met: 1- halting the aggressions of the outsiders and occupation, and 2-sincere cooperation of governments to counter terrorism.
The military presence of the US in Syria and Iraq is the biggest hindrance to the establishment of democracy and will of nations. Freedom does not fit in the backpacks of soldiers coming from outside the region.
If an inclusive government having effective participation of all ethnicities shouldn’t emerge to run Afghanistan, security will not be restored to the country. And like occupation, paternalism is also doomed to failure.
The humanitarian crisis in Yemen is very worrying and the world needs to break its silence towards crimes against humanity. The solution? The speedy and unconditional stop to the Yemeni aggression, the opening of channels for providing humanitarian aid, and facilitation of constructive talks between Yemeni groups.
The occupier Zionist regime is the organizer of the biggest state terrorism whose agenda is to slaughter women and children in Gaza and the West Bank. Today, an all-out blockade has turned Gaza to the biggest prison in the world. The so-called “deal of the century” failed just like any other deal forced on Palestinians. There is only one solution: holding a referendum with the participation of all Palestinians of all religions and ethnicities including Muslims, Christians and Jews. This solution was set forth by the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran many years ago which is now registered as one of the official documents of the United Nations.
Today, the whole world including the Americans themselves have admitted that the project of countering the Iranian people, which manifested itself in the form of violating the JCPOA and was followed by the “maximum pressure” and arbitrary withdrawal from an internationally recognized agreement, has totally failed. However, the policy of “maximum oppression” is still on. We want nothing more than what is rightfully ours. We demand the implementation of international rules. All parties must stay true to the nuclear deal and the UN Resolution in practice. Fifteen reports released by the IAEA have attested to the adherence of Iran to its commitments. However, the US has not yet discharged its obligation, which is lifting sanctions. It has encroached upon the agreement, withdrawn from it and levied even more sanctions on my people.
The United States mistakenly believed it would render us desperate and devastated, but our perseverance has yielded results and will always do, for the smart and dynamic resistance of the Islamic Republic of Iran comes from our strategic rationality. And we don’t trust the promises made by the US government.
It is the strategic policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran to consider the production and stockpiling of atomic weapons as forbidden based on the religious decree by His Eminence, the Supreme Leader, and nukes have no place in our defense doctrine and deterrence policy. The Islamic Republic considers the useful talks whose ultimate outcome is the lifting of all oppressive sanctions.
While decisively defending all is rights and the interests of its people, Iran is keen to have large-scale political and economic cooperation and convergence with the rest of the world. I seek effective interaction with all the countries of the world especially with our neighbors and shake their hands warmly.
A new era has begun.
The Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to play its part for a better world. A world brimful of rationality, justice, freedom, morality and spirituality.
Thank you all for your attention.