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Iran President Talks Koran Burning and Calls Iran Protests ‘Fake News’ at U.N. Assembly

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi holds up the Quran as he addresses the 78th session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City on Sept. 19, 2023. (Reuters / Mike Segar)
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi holds up the Quran as he addresses the 78th session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City on Sept. 19, 2023. (Reuters / Mike Segar)

On Tuesday, the Islamic Republic of Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi took to the stage at the 2023 United Nations General Assembly, giving a speech on topics ranging from Koran burning to last year's protests in Iran to current global affairs.

"The world is experiencing unprecedented and historic changes," Raisi said at the beginning of his speech after speaking in Arabic for over 30 seconds.

During the first half of his address, Raisi spoke about how the Koran and its values speak of "the equality of humans," describing the burning of the Koran as the "fires of disrespect will not overcome the divine truth,” as he held up a copy of the Koran.

"Islamophobia and cultural apartheid witnessed in Western countries are evident in actions ranging from the desecration of the Holy Koran to the ban on hijab in schools, and numerous other deplorable discriminations are not worthy of human dignity," he added.

The Iranian President discussed the "hegemony of the West," stating that it "no longer resonates with the diverse realities of today's world." Efforts to spread American ideas internationally have "proven to be a failure," according to Raisi.

He then explained how proud he was that the Islamic Revolution of 1979 was able to ‘destroy’ such Western ideas throughout the world, adding that non-western powers like Iran have emerged as a "collective hope for the establishment of a novel and equitable world order."

Raisi claimed his regime has been fighting terrorism while those who claim to fight terror are the ones supporting it, referring to the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani, whom Raisi lauded for a few minutes in his speech.

Raisi also mentioned that the war in Ukraine is not of Iran’s concern as his regime does not "support war," blaming the U.S. instead for trying to "weaken Europe." "We support any initiative for cessation of hostilities and the war and support any political measure," Raisi said. Tehran has on multiple occasions sold drones and other military equipment to Russia to utilize in its invasion of Ukraine.

He claimed that Iran advocates for maximum economic and political convergence within and between regions, explaining how Tehran was "interested in interacting with the global community under the principle of justice.

Raisi described "liberal democracy" as a code word for instigating proxy wars, coups, and stifling economic cooperation between nations.

"While certain powers are steering towards more wars, The Islamic Republic is steering towards neighborhood integration in the [Middle East] region," Raisi said.

In a statement to reports, Danny Danon, Chairman of World Likud, Israel's 17th Permanent Representative to the U.N. and Member of Israel's Knesset Ambassador, said that the Iranian President's "nice-sounding words at UNGA are hollow and smothered in lies."

He then touted the regime's recent international cooperation efforts via the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Northeast Economic Corridor. In a nod to America's presence in the Persian Gulf, Raisi said that foreign intervention of any sort was unhelpful and "the problem itself."

Raisi also stated that the regime's repression of Iranian protesters last year following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini at the hands of the Islamic Republic's morality police was a "victory" for the people of Iran, blaming Western countries and their intelligence services for making a "grave mistake of underestimating the power of the Iranian people."

"The enemies of Iran have sought to impose their will on the people of Iran," Raisi said.

The Iran President said that the Islamic Republic has a strong connection with the people of Iran and blamed Western intelligence services for waging a "psychological war against them."

Regarding women's rights, Raisi insinuated that the United States, with the "biggest women's prison" is operating in hypocrisy and claimed that women in Iran had greater rights than other nations.

He also touched upon reports about news reports and journalists being censored in Iran following the protests, blaming the world for censorship of news stories from regime-based media outlets that covered up Amini's death and the regime's repressive actions.

Towards the end of his speech, Raisi attacked the US for revoking the 2015 nuclear program and stated that nuclear weapons were not a part of the Islamic Republic's "defense doctrine." Raisi also blamed the West for not allowing Iran to have a nuclear program for "peace purposes."

"Iran has defied and deceived the world with the nuclear agreement from Day 1. Just this week, Iran banished top IAEA inspectors and disabled the IAEA from effectively monitoring its nuclear program," Danon said.

"This move is outrageous and a direct violation of Iran's guarantees. Iran's repeated hypocrisy and deceit must be aggressively condemned. All international collaboration and cooperation with such a corrupt regime should immediately be stopped," he added.

The speech from Raisi drew heavy criticism from Iranian Americans outside the U.N., who called on the Biden administration to sanction the Iranian President's visit to the Assembly.

During the speech, Israel's U.N. Ambassador Gilad Erdan stood up and waved a picture of Masha Amini while praising the hundreds of Iranian American protests outside the U.N. for protesting Raisi's visit.

According to social media, Erdan was detained at the U.N. Headquarters after protesting Raisi’s speech

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a non-partisan think-tank that invited Raisi to speak at its conference, first revoked ts invitation following criticism from Iranian Americans, but later in the day it was reported that the roundtable was only postponed to Wednesday.

Before Raisi's speech, U.S. President Joe Biden took to the General Assembly stage, talking on global issues, including Iran's nuclear program, stating that Tehran must "never acquire a nuclear weapon." "We are working with our partners to address Iran's destabilizing activities, threatening regional and global security, and remain steadfast in our commitment that Iran must never acquire a nuclear weapon," he said.

The President's words came as his administration recently allowed for the transfer of $6 billion in frozen assets to be returned to the Islamic government in exchange for five American hostages, touting the deal as a great success while ignoring calls from Republican lawmakers in Congress who say that such a hostage deal provides relief to the mullahs and their terrorist-proxies.

White House and State Department officials have gone on media outlets, explaining that the recently released funds would only go towards humanitarian supplies to the people of Iran, not the regime's coffers.

Related Story: American Think-Tank Extends Invite to Iran President Sparking Outrage

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