Iran’s President condemns Israel at the United Nations, praises Soleimani; israeli envoy walk out

NEW YORK – Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi called Israel a “barbaric power” in a speech to the UN General Assembly on Wednesday and insisted his country’s nuclear program is peaceful.

Raisi further said that the US had trampled on the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers. He also vowed to seek justice for the US killing of Qassem Soleimani, a top Iranian general killed in a drone strike in 2020.

“The region has not seen a barbaric force like the Zionist regime in its midst in the past,” Raisi said. “The murder of children and women is present in the black report card of the Zionist regime. It has managed to build the world’s largest prison in Gaza and expand illegal settlements and settlements in the Palestinian territories.

“The killing of Palestinian women and children shows everyone that the seven decades of Israeli occupation and barbarism are still with us and have not ended,” the Iranian president said. “The Zionist regimes occupying Jerusalem and other lands in the region cannot be partners for security and stability.”

He proposed a vote for the establishment of a single state by all Palestinians – “Muslims, Christians and Jews”. The suggestion comes in contrast to the two-state solution supported by the Saudi Arabia-led Western countries and their Middle Eastern allies.

The Israeli mission said in a statement that Israel’s envoy to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan Raisi, left the meeting room as he spoke, but left in his place a photograph of his grandmother, who had survived the Holocaust. Raisey earlier this week cast doubt on the Holocaust,

Raisi addressed the UN General Assembly as talks to revive the Iranian nuclear deal take a moment or leave it.

Iran’s President Ibrahim Raisi addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly, at the United Nations Headquarters on September 21, 2022. (Mary Altafer/AP)

nuclear deal negotiations

“Our desire is only one thing: adherence to the commitments,” Raisi said, noting that it was the US that pulled out of the agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

He asked whether Iran “can really trust without guarantees and assurances” that the US will live up to its commitments this time if Washington returns to the JCPOA.

EU officials have warned that the window to securing a deal is about to close, as European-sponsored talks fail to strike a deal on Iran reneging on the JCPOA’s terms and the US rejoining the deal. has been

“America crushed the nuclear deal,” said Raisi, who had just been sworn in as president a year earlier. His speech is the first time he has taken the stage at the United Nations in his role as President. Last year, he made the remarks virtually in the assembly due to the COVID-19 restrictions.

“We are very serious about negotiating,” he said, while the West “keeps repeating the same old stories from the past that cast doubt on his commitment.

He also emphasized that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful.

“We all know that this is only for humanitarian and peaceful efforts,” Raisi said of his country’s nuclear program. He claimed the sanctions had been ineffective, but dismissed them as a “punishment on the people of Iran”.

“Iran has neutralized sanctions in a number of ways,” he said. “The maximum sanctions policy has suffered a humiliating defeat.”

Western sanctions have devoured Iran’s reserves and pushed up inflation in the country, which reached 40% last year. In the summer, Iran’s currency hit its lowest level against the US dollar.

Iran’s President Ibrahim Raisi holds a photo of the slain Iranian General Qassem Soleimani as he addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the United Nations Headquarters, September 21, 2022. (Mary Altaffer / AP)

He also added what he said was a unilateral investigation into Iran’s nuclear activities, while the nuclear programs of other countries remain secret, a possible reference to Israel.

Raisi held America responsible for Soleimani’s death and vowed to get justice.

“We want an impartial tribunal. We will pursue through an impartial tribunal those who martyred our dear General Qasim Sulemani,” he said.

Raisi described Soleimani – who led the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a US designated terrorist group – as “a freedom-seeking man who died.”

Days after Soleimani’s death, Iran launched a ballistic missile attack targeting US troops in Iraq in response to a deadly drone strike.

Wearing a traditional black turban identified with Shia clerics, Raisi told gathered leaders that Iran wanted to have “extensive relations with all of our neighbors” – an apparent reference to the enemy of Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries in the region. .

israeli envoy walk out

As Raisi reached the stage, Israel’s envoy to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, walked out.

He left a photo of his Holocaust-survivor grandmother in his place, and took another such photo as she left.

“Ambassador Erden placed a photograph of his grandmother, survivors of the Auschwitz concentration camp, who both lost family members during the Holocaust, next to the Israel sign on his table in the General Assembly Hall,” the statement said. In.”

Israel’s table at the United Nations shows the grandmother and grandmother of Israel’s envoy Gilad Erdan, whom she held as a protest during an address by Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi. (Israel Mission to the United Nations)

Earlier this week, Raisey cast doubt during an interview on the Holocaust, saying that research is needed into the matter.

“I showed the Iranian president a photo of my late grandmother so he could see ‘some more signs’ that the Holocaust had happened and tell him that we will never allow the horrors that happened to us again,” Erdan said in the statement.

He also called on other envoys to boycott Raisi’s address.

“This is a new moral low for the United Nations. A mass murderer who denies the Holocaust is allowed to spread his blatant hatred on the United Nations platform,” Arden said. “Any ambassador who speaks to him in the hall Stop by to listen, they should be ashamed.”

anti-government protest

Hundreds of Iranian dissidents protested against Raisi outside the United Nations during his speech, as he has throughout the week, including gathering outside his New York hotel.

Anti-regime protesters, many of the MEK dissident group, said Raisi should be prosecuted for his role in the 1988 executions of thousands of political prisoners, and that Iran’s human rights violations are ongoing against protesters this week.

“He should not come to the United Nations. It is very shameful that he is here because if he goes to America he will be legalised,” said activist Batool Zamani.

Raha Heshmatikhah said, “Raisi does not deserve a seat in the United Nations.” “Raisi should be prosecuted.”

Raisi’s UN speech came amid widespread protests against the regime in Iran, after ethics police arrested a woman for not covering her hair properly, then died in custody.

Protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini have spread across Iran in the past five days. Rights groups say Iranian security forces have killed at least six demonstrators.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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