In his speech to the high-level General Debate at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Iranian President Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi called for an end to United States sanctions against his country, describing them as a method of waging war.
Mr. Raisi described the presence of the United States in the Middle East region as a “lack of rationality”, which has been detrimental to “oppressed people, from Palestine and Syria to Yemen and Afghanistan, as well as the US taxpayers”.
Sanctions against Iran, he continued, “are the U.S.’s new way of war with the nations of the world”, and a crime against humanity, especially sanctions on medicine, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite these sanctions, added the Iranian President, the Tehran Research Reactor has produced radiopharmaceuticals – drugs containing radioactive isotopes – for more than one million cancer patients in Iran, made progress in the field of biotechnology, and is manufacturing its own COVID-19 vaccines. COVID-19, said Mr. Raisi, is a wake-up call for the world, and a reminder that all human beings are interdependent.
Turning to the threat of terrorism, Mr. Raisi warned that ISIS/ISIL would not be the last wave of extremism and declared that terrorism has its roots in 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”.
He stressed that “the occupier Zionist regime” was the organizer of the biggest state terrorism whose agenda is to slaughter women and children in Gaza and the West Bank.
The so-called “deal of the century” failed just like any other deal forced on Palestinians, he said, and stated: “There is only one solution: holding a referendum with the participation of all Palestinians of all religions and ethnicities including Muslims, Christians and Jews.”
‘Nukes have no place in our defence policy’
On the subject of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which sets out rules for monitoring Iran’s nuclear programme and paves the way for the lifting of UN sanctions, Mr. Raisi demanded the implementation of international rules, and called for all parties to stay true to the deal.
The production and stockpiling of atomic weapons are forbidden in Iran by religious decree, Mr. Raisi declared: “nukes have no place in our defence doctrine and deterrence policy”, and Iran, concluded the President, is keen to have “large-scale political and economic cooperation and convergence with the rest of the world. A new era has begun”.