News Digest: Week of September 20

September 20

Sports: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei congratulated the national volleyball team for winning the 2021 Asian Championship title. 

 

Diplomacy: Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian arrived in New York City to attend the U.N. General Assembly and more than 50 meetings on the sidelines. “Will outline our balanced, active, and smart foreign policy,” he tweeted.

Diplomacy: Abdollahian met with U.N. High Commission for Refugees Filippo Grandi to discuss the situation in Afghanistan. 

 

September 21

Diplomacy: 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. In his pre-recorded speech, the hardline cleric repeatedly condemned the United States for imposing economic sanctions on Iran. 

 

Military: Major General Hossein Salami, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards, said that Iran had “built power to defeat” the United States. He had previously said that the United States was fleeing from the region and no longer posed a threat.

Oil: Hezbollah had transported a shipment of Iranian oil from Syria into Lebanon using trucks, the Lebanese channel Al Mayadeen reported.

 

September 22

Diplomacy: British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss met with Foreign Minister Abdollahian to demand the release of detained British nationals and to urge Iran to return to nuclear talks on restoring compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal.

 

Diplomacy: Foreign Minister Abdollahian met E.U. foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. In a statement, Borrell said that Abdollahian assured him of Iran’s “willingness to resume (nuclear) negotiations at an early date.” They also discussed cooperating on challenges emanating from Afghanistan.

Nuclear: Axios reported that the U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and his Israeli counterpart, Eyal Hulata, had discussed a “plan B” in case talks on restoring U.S. and Iranian compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal do not resume. The world’s six major powers and Iran held six rounds of talks in Vienna from April to June on restoring the agreement. The talks stalled in the summer, during Iran’s presidential election campaign in June and the political transition as Ebrahim Raisi took office and appointed his cabinet in August.