Iran’s president slams US in first speech to UN as leader

Sep 22, 2021

Iran’s new president slammed U.S. sanctions imposed on his nation as a mechanism of war, using his first U.N address since his swearing-in to forcefully call out Washington’s policies in the region and the growing political schism within America.

President Ebrahim Raisi on Tuesday delivered a far more critical and blunt take on American foreign policy than his moderate predecessor, Hassan Rouhani, had done in previous speeches to the U.N. General Assembly. Raisi, who was sworn in last month after an election, is a conservative cleric and former judiciary chief seen as close to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

His speech espoused Iran’s Islamic political identity and where the Shiite-led nation sees its place in the world, despite crushing U.S. sanctions that have hurt its economy and ordinary Iranians.

“Sanctions are the U.S.’ new way of war with the nations of the world,” Raisi said, adding that such economic punishment during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic amounts to “crimes against humanity.”

U.S. sanctions, while allowing for humanitarian aid, have made international purchases of medicine and equipment much more difficult. Iran has endured multiple waves of the coronavirus, with nearly 118,000 deaths recorded — the highest in the region.

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