Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi used his time in front of the UN General Assembly to request President Joe Biden commit to a return to the 2015 nuclear deal or abandon the agreement. The Iranian leader stressed that Tehran believes Washington’s control over the global economy is faltering.
Speaking in New York on Tuesday, Raisi urged Biden to show he would like to return to the Iran nuclear deal – or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the agreement’s official name. The US should “demonstrate in a verifiable fashion” that it wants to return to the 2015 nuclear deal, he said. Adding, Washington must choose a path, “either JCPOA or not.”
Raisi explained Iran was in full compliance with the agreement when then-President Donald Trump exited the deal in 2018 and reimposed sanctions on Tehran that were lifted under the JCPOA. The UN’s nuclear watchdog – the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – confirmed that Iran was fully complying with the terms of the JCPOA.
After Trump initiated an economic war on Tehran aimed at destroying the Iranian economy, the Islamic Republic started to walk back its commitments to the JCPOA, including caps on enrichment and inspections.
Raisi noted in his speech that Tehran has “to have peaceful nuclear energy” and Iran has no nuclear weapons program. Under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, of which Iran is a member, it is stated that all countries have the right to a nuclear energy program.
During Biden’s address to the UN, he claimed Washington was taking active steps to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. He promised to “remain steadfast in our commitment that Iran must never acquire a nuclear weapon.” However, the US Department of Defense states in its Nuclear Posture Review that “Iran does not today possess a nuclear weapon and we currently believe it is not pursuing one.”
In his speech, Raisi argued the world has reached a “critical juncture” as Washington’s domination over the globe was waning. “The global landscape is undergoing a paradigm shift towards an emerging international order, a trajectory that is not reversible,” he said. “As non-Western powers have emerged, there is a collective hope for a novel and equitable world order. The Islamic Republic of Iran advocates maximum economic and political convergence and is interested in interacting with the global community under the principle of justice.”
As Biden has continued Trump’s economic war against Iran, Tehran has increasingly found more partners on the world stage. Iran recently inked a deal with Saudi Arabia that was brokered by China, that has seen Tehran and Riyadh normalize ties. Additionally, Tehran has become a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and BRICS+.
Raisi went on to slam Washington for the prolonged war in Ukraine. “The United States of America has fanned the fire of violence in Ukraine to weaken European countries.” He added, “Rejecting any ceasefire plan in the Ukraine war by the Americans shows that America has a long-term plan to weaken Europe.”
In the early months of the war, a potential deal negotiated by Israel and Turkey ultimately fell through after the US and UK pressured Ukraine to abandon diplomacy and attempt to win on the battlefield.