UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Iran’s president said Wednesday that his country was seriously considering reviving a deal to limit its nuclear program, but questioned whether he could trust the United States’ commitment to a possible OK.
In 2018, former US President Donald Trump pulled out of a deal brokered by the Obama administration. This led Tehran to over time abandon all limitations imposed by the agreement on its nuclear enrichment.
Ebrahim Raisi addressed the United Nations General Assembly as talks to revive the nuclear deal approached a take-it-or-leave-it moment.
“Our wish is only one thing: the fulfillment of commitments,” Raisi said, noting that it was the United States that withdrew from the agreement.
He asked if Iran could “really trust without guarantees or assurances” that the United States would honor its commitments this time around.
European Union officials warned the window to get an agreement is about to close. The 2015 deal put curbs on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in sanctions relief, which Tehran insists it never received.
“America has trampled on the nuclear deal,” said Raisi, who was sworn in as president only a year ago. His speech marks the first time he has stood on the podium at the UN in his role as president. Last year, he spoke to the assembly virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions.
He also blasted what he said was scrutiny of Iran’s nuclear activities while other countries’ nuclear programs remain secret, a reference to Israel.
Wearing a traditional black turban identified with Shia clerics, Raisi also told the assembled leaders that Iran wants to have “extensive relations with all our neighbours” – an apparent reference to enemy Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries in the region.
Saudi Arabia and Iran have held a number of direct talks since US President Joe Biden took office, although tensions remain high between the two. Meanwhile, the UAE recently reopened its embassy in Tehran and sent an ambassador there.
Raisi also deplored the sanctions imposed on Iran, calling them “a punishment against the Iranian people”.
Western sanctions have eaten away at Iran’s reserves and exacerbated inflation in the country, which hit 40% last year. During the summer, The Iranian currency hit its lowest level never against the US dollar.
Raisi’s speech comes at a politically sensitive time in Iran. The protesters have clashes with the police in recent days in the cities of the country, including the capital, more than the death of a 22-year-old woman who was being held by the vice squad for allegedly violating the Islamic Republic’s strictly enforced dress code.
Raisi offered his condolences to the woman’s family and promised an investigation, while other Iranian officials accused unnamed foreign countries of seizing on the incident to foment unrest. His death sparked long-simmering anger among many Iranians, especially young people, against the country’s ruling clerics.
Raisi, who was elected last year in a vote that saw low turnout and several candidates disqualified, has been described as a protege of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
In 2019, Raisi was sanctioned by the United States in part for his involvement in the mass execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988, just over a decade after the 1979 Islamic Revolution toppled the country’s shah. and inaugurated its current theocracy-led system. .
Associated Press writers Amir Vahdat in Tehran, Iran, and Joseph Krauss contributed to this report.
For more AP coverage of the United Nations General Assembly, visit https://apnews.com/hub/united-nations-general-assembly