22 September 2022
Former US President Donald Trump should face trial for ordering the killing of Qasem Soleimani in 2020, Iran's president told the UN General Assembly in New York.
Ebrahim Raisi, who is sanctioned by the United States for human rights violations, obtained a visa to attend the UN annual meeting despite opposition by US lawmakers and Iranian dissidents.
During his speech he waved a photo of Soleimani and described him as a hero for many in the Middle East and a figure who defeated the Islamic State group.
Soleimani was killed on January 3, 2020, by a US drone strike ordered by former President Donald Trump who described him as a terror threat against his country and others in the region. Iran vowed revenge for his death, threatening former Trump administration officials. US law enforcement has confirmed that active threats exist against former Secretary of State Mile Pompeo and former National Security Adviser John Bolton.
In his first in-person address to the world body, the hardliner president elected last year struck a defiant and at times bombastic tone, demanding that the United States should provide guarantees that it will not withdraw from a new nuclear deal if one is ever reached.
Raisi also tried to portray the Islamic Republic as a democratic political system where justice prevails, as tens of thousands of protesters have been demonstrating in more than 40 cities and towns in Iran this week, rejecting the clerical regime.
The protests began after a 22-year-old woman was detained in the street by a hijab enforcement patrol and two hours later was delivered to a hospital in coma. She died on Friday for severe head trauma. As hospital staff confirmed to Iran International over the weekend.
Iran has been engaged in indirect talks with US since April 2021 to restore the Obama era nuclear accord known as the JCPOA. In mid-August there were strong hopes among diplomats that the sides had reached a compromise, but then Tehran presented new demands that Washington rejected, and the talks are currently deadlocked.
Raisi has rejected the idea of meeting or speaking with President Joe Biden while in New York, as Iran has refused all direct contacts with the United States during the nuclear talks.
While Raisi has admitted to have been part of a 'death commission' that ordered the killing of up to 5,000 political prisoners in Iranian jails in 1988, he claimed in his speech that the Islamic Republic is a champion of human rights and criticized Western countries, including Canada for violations.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran rejects some of the double standards of some governments vis-a-vis human rights," Raisi said. "(So long as) we have this double standard where attention is solely focused on one side and not all equally, we will not have true justice and fairness.
For decades, Iran has not allowed any UN human rights rapporteur to visit the country for an independent assessment of the situation after numerous reports and criticisms expressed by rights defenders of gross violations.