Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi reportedly might attend next month's United Nations General Assembly session in New York City — a revelation that comes merely days after Iran's state media implied a nuclear threat against the United States.
Ali Bahadori-Jahromi, Iran's primary spokesman, said that "preliminary planning" has begun for Raisi to meet with the U.N. General Assembly in New York as early as Sept. 13.
This announcement could trigger resistance on multiple fronts.
- Iran is just one of four countries included on the U.S. State Department's "Sponsors of Terror" listing — along with Cuba, Syria, and North Korea. (The House and Senate chambers are pondering the addition of Russia to the "terror" list.)
- Around the time of President Joe Biden's trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia last month, Iranian state media suggested that Iran's nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) could "turn New York into ruins and hell in case of a hostile act by the U.S." The video from Bisimchimedia, and linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), praises the progress of Iran's nuclear program.
- The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) recently told Newsweek that the U.S. State Department "should not grant" Supreme Leader Raisi a temporary visa, due to ongoing U.S. sanctions against Iran over human rights violations.
Shahin Gobadi, a member of the NCRI Foreign Affairs Committee, which calls for the overthrow of Tehran's regime, claims that Raisi was "directly involved" in the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners.
Gobadi also claims that Raisi "oversaw the murder" of at least 1,500 protesters during the November 2019 uprisings against the Iranian government.
The timing of the Raisi announcement also coincides with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken reportedly supporting an EU proposal to salvage the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or so-called "Iran Nuclear Deal" from 2015, a pact in which then-President Donald Trump withdrew from two years later.
Raisi, who has been billed by some media outlets as an "ultra-conservative," denies having any role in the executions referenced above.
"Instead of hosting Raisi, the United Nations must hold him accountable for crimes against humanity and genocide," Gobadi told Newsweek, and "anything less would be an affront to the very principles and values that constitute the foundation and the charter of the U.N."
Gobadi added: "Like his predecessors, [Raisi] is certain to use the U.N. podium to spew hatred and vengeance and justify the regime's egregious human rights abuses at home and malign activities abroad. ... He does not represent the Iranian people at all."
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