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Iran is ‘clear threat to Middle East’ – FM after Raisi speech

CM 22/09/2021

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Tehran finances terrorism, poses a global threat and must never be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons, the Foreign Ministry said in response to fresh Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s first-ever address to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Tuesday. 
“Raisi continues to fool the international community in a speech filled with lies and cynicism,” the Foreign Ministry said after Raisi took the podium at the high level opening session of the UNGA.
“Iran’s ayatollah regime constitutes a clear and immediate threat to the Middle East and world peace,” it added. 

 The seats reserved for Israel's delegation sit empty as US President Joe Biden speaks about Israel and Palestinians during the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York City, US, September 21, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/EDUARDO MUNOZ/POOL) The seats reserved for Israel’s delegation sit empty as US President Joe Biden speaks about Israel and Palestinians during the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York City, US, September 21, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/EDUARDO MUNOZ/POOL)

Israel has long been concerned by the Iranian regime, but it has been worried specifically about Raisi since he took office in June, given his involvement in political executions in 1988.
“The new government in Iran, headed by the “Butcher of Tehran” Raisi, and consisting largely of ministers suspected of [committing acts of] terrorism and [whose names are] on global sanctions lists, is the extremist face of a regime that has brought harm to Iranian citizens for over forty years. Iran encourages and finances terrorism which is destabilizing the entire Middle East,” the Foreign Ministry said. 
“The international community must condemn the Iranian regime and prevent any possibility of nuclear capabilities and weapons falling into the hands of these extremists.”
Iran does not recognize Israel and never refers to it by name. At the UNGA, Raisi said that “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.”
His speech, however, focused on presenting Iran as a moderate positive force in the region and on painting the United States as a country that is at war with the world.
“Today, the world doesn’t care about America is First,” Raisi said. “Over the past decade the US has a been making the mistake of modifying its “war of war” with the world, instead of changing its “way of life.”
Its attempt to westernize the Middle East has failed, Raisi said. “Today, the US does not get to exit [from] Afghanistan, but [rather] is expelled,” he said.
He took issue in particular with the crippling sanctions the former Trump administration imposed on his country’s in an attempt to pressure it to negotiate new nuclear deal.
Raisi said that such sanctions were “a crime against humanity.”
The US uses sanctions as a “new way of war with the nations of the world,” Raisi said, adding that his country would not succumb to pressure when it came to a deal over its nuclear program.
In 2018, the Trump administration pulled out of the initial 2015 JCPOA, then signed between Tehran and the major world powers: China, Russia, France, Germany and Great Britain. 
Since taking office in January, US President Joe Biden has sought to revive the deal, but EU-brokered indirect talks held last in June have faltered. On Tuesday Iran said it would agree to resume such talks in a number of weeks, but did not set a date. 
Over the last few years Iran has stopped adhering to the restrictions set in the deal on the enrichment of uranium and has done so to a near weapons grade level. 
In his speech, Biden linked sanctions relief to the Iranian return to the 2015 deal, noting that it would remove the sanctions if Iran would comply with the nuclear limits set by the deal.
Raisi, in his speech hours later, however, denied that his country was out of compliance. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has persistently reported that Iran has exceeded the limits for uranium enrichment set by the deal.
In his speech, however, Raisi said that the IAEA had found his country to be in compliance with the deal.
“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 lifting the sanctions. It has encouraged the agreement, withdrawn from it and levied more sanctions against my people,” he said.
Raisi added that his country did not trust the US and its promises.
He also swore that his country had no intention of producing nuclear weapons. 
“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 doctrine by His Eminence, the Supreme Leader, and Nukes have no place in our deference policy. The Islamic Republic considers the useful talks, whose ultimate outcome is the lifting of all sanctions,” Raisi said.
Reuters contributed to this report.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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