During his first UN address, Iran’s new President Ebrahim Raisi railed against US sanctions and denounced them as a weapon of war.
“Sanctions are the US’s new way of war with the nations of the world,” Raisi said. He said implementing sanctions while Iran was dealing with COVID-19 amounts to “crimes against humanity.”
The so-called “maximum pressure” campaign implemented by the Trump administration after the US withdrawal from the JCPOA in 2018 was designed to decimate Iran’s economy. This policy is still in effect, and the Biden administration has even imposed more Iran-related sanctions.
Raisi said the withdrawal from Afghanistan shows the “hegemonic system” of the US has “no credibility.” He said “the project of imposing Westernized identity” in countries like Afghanistan has failed.
The Iranian president’s rhetoric was harsher than what typically came from his predecessor Hassan Rouhani, but Raisi still said Iran is open to negotiation to revive the nuclear if it results in sanctions relief. Also on Tuesday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said JCPOA talks will resume within the next few weeks.
The JCPOA talks have been on hold since June 20th, around the time when Raisi was elected. The negotiations started in April and were dragged out due to the Biden administration’s refusal to lift all Trump-era sanctions. The last round was concluded with the two sides at odds over key issues.
After the last round of talks, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the US wanted to add a sentence to the JCPOA that would commit Tehran to future negotiations on other issues, such as Iran’s ballistic missile program. Khamenei said by adding this condition, the US could use it as a future excuse to withdraw from the deal again.
Khamenei said Iran was seeking guarantees that the US would not withdraw from the deal again, but Washington was not willing to give them. Raisi signaled Tuesday that this is a request that his government will continue to pursue. “We don’t trust the promises made by the US government,” he said.