Iranian-American activists pressure Biden to be tough on new Iranian president in UN speech
Several hundred Iranian-American activists have signed a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to take an aggressive tone against the new Iranian president when the American leader delivers his first address to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) next week .
In the letter shared with The independent, just over 400 Iranian-Americans in a wide range of fields wrote that Mr Biden should declare that Ebrahim Raisi should “be tried in international tribunals for crimes against humanity”, particularly his role in a series of State-sponsored executions of thousands of political dissidents in 1988.
The letter also urges the US president to highlight the low turnout in the recent Iranian presidential election, which activists attributed to a boycott campaign organized by opponents of the Iranian government.
While primarily addressed to Mr Biden, the letter’s writers also criticized the UN Secretary-General, who received a copy of the letter, regarding Mr Raisi’s upcoming speech at UNGA.
“Allowing Raisi to address the United Nations Assembly will be an insult to humanity and in particular to the family members of its victims, as well as to the values on which this country was founded,” said argue the authors.
Iranian political dissident groups, including the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), have maintained a constant campaign of pressure against the new Biden administration in recent months, including organizing a rally on the grounds of Capitol Hill where a memorial was erected. for dissidents killed by the Iranian government.
The group’s aim was to urge Mr Biden and the United States to continue a campaign of sanctions and other actions aimed at weakening the Iranian government and in particular Mr Raisi, which they described as a takeover of ‘a regime in its weakest position in decades. This campaign was launched under the Trump administration and presented a radical departure from the policies under former President Barack Obama, when Mr. Biden was last in the White House.
A senior official in the Biden administration said The independent in email saying Mr Biden’s address next week at UNGA would include messages on “promoting human rights and defending democracy and the rules-based international order “, but gave no details of the potential rhetoric directed at Iran or its new president.
The events and the NCRI statements as a result have drawn widespread attention from U.S. politicians on Capitol Hill, aligned with calls to significantly change or abandon the 2015 agreement signed between the Obama administration, the government. Iranian and several European countries to provide oversight of the Iranian nuclear program. , which usually means conservatives as well as centrist Democrats such as the former chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, Eliot Engel.
At the rally organized by the NCRI in front of the Capitol in early August, Mr. Engel said The independent that although he was no longer in Congress, he would continue to publicly call on President Joe Biden to seek “a new deal, a better deal, a deal that brings Iran closer to democracy” rather than reverting to the agreement negotiated in 2015.