Iran at the U.N. — America Is the Past, ‘We Are the Future’

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 19: Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi holds the Koran as he address world leaders during the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on September 19, 2023 in New York City. Israel’s Ambassador to the U.N. Gilad Erdan held up a sign stating 'Iranian Women Deserve Freedom …
Spencer Platt/Getty

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s achingly long and rambling address to the U.N. General Assembly began with a lengthy sermon on the Muslim holy book, which eventually built up to him calling for action against Quran-burning by citizens of free nations.

Raisi took some hard slaps against the United States despite the Biden administration attempting to curry favor with a $6 billion hostage ransom, and concluded with deranged ravings about terrorism that the U.N. translators clearly had difficulty making sense of.

The U.N. staff also seemed to have a bit of impish fun by turning their cameras on the audience to show how much of the audience drifted away during Raisi’s endless rant or visibly stopped paying attention to what he was saying.

No one called time on Raisi even as his tirade passed the grueling 35-minute mark (the U.N. recommends a 15-minute time limit for General Assembly debate speeches).

Brevity is truly the soul of wit, especially when delivering one of the last speeches on a very long day.

The first chapter of the Iranian president’s epic rant was a long disquisition on the wisdom of the Quran.

“The assurance of a luminous future for human society lies in the devoted observance of lofty virtues that guide people towards excellence and noble ideals. What better source than the word of the Creator to encapsulate the essence of humanity and elevate the inherent values of mankind?” he asked.

“The Holy Quran beckons humanity toward rationality, spirituality, the truth, and justice. It expounds upon the unity of mankind, proclaiming all earthly inhabitants. It seeks to guide all toward human dignity, which will lead to the blessings sought by mankind,” he answered himself.

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi holds the Quran as he address world leaders during the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on September 19, 2023 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

No sane observer would describe the brutal theocracy Raisi presides over as a bastion of reason, dignity, or human rights. While he was speaking at the U.N., his thugs back home were cracking down on protests to commemorate the one-year anniversary of his “morality police” murdering a young woman named Mahsa Amini for allegedly wearing her mandatory headscarf improperly.

Israel’s ambassador to the U.N., Gilad Erdan, was clearly such a sane observer. Erdan stormed out of the General Assembly during Raisi’s speech, waving a photo of Amini, and was briefly detained for unclear reasons by U.N. security personnel. Erdan later said that “being detained for standing with the Iranian people and protesting a vile mass murderer who was given an audience on the global stage is utterly disgraceful.”

Raisi himself could not care less about Amini or the innocent people who died when his forces viciously suppressed the greatest uprising of the Iranian people in four decades, but he did make a point of visiting the families of security forces killed while crushing that remarkable flicker of liberty.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi (L) and United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (R) meet at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York, USA on September 19, 2023. (Iranian Presidency / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty)

This did not prevent Raisi from carrying on at the U.N. as though he were president of the United Federation of Planets, rather than the savage Islamic Republic of Iran. He waved his copy of the Quran as he sang its praises, building up to an exasperated outcry against Western nations for refusing to halt Quran-burning and other practices he deemed offensive:

Is this the first time that the words of Allah, the almighty and the omnipotent, are being burned – presuming, while they do so, that they can extinguish the divine voice for eternity? 

These understandings that bring unity, and divine teachings that inspire, that build human character, that build societies, that build progress for human societies, will never be burned. It is eternal. They remain impervious. The fires of disrespect will not overcome the truth, the divine truth.

Islamophobia and cultural apartheid witnessed in Western countries, evident in actions ranging from the desecration of the holy Quran to the ban on hijab in schools, and numerous other deplorable discriminations are not worthy of human dignity. Even more concerning is that behind the scenes, there seems to be an agenda, which seeks to divert attention with using the tool of freedom of speech. As one Westerner said, now that the West is faced with a crisis of identity, it sees the world as a jungle and presents itself in the best of lights as a beautiful garden.

“We firmly believe that reverence for religion should hold a prominent position on the United Nations agenda, in order to indoctrinate the proper framework for respecting all world religions,” Raisi demanded.

The Iranian president’s sermon segued into a rejection of Western sexual politics, particularly the gay and transsexual agenda. Raisi could not quite bring himself to name the political movement he objected to, but he dismissed it as a movement that wants to “bring cessation to the human race itself” by attacking families and procreation:

Concurrently with the war on Islam, we are also seeing a war against the framework of the family. The family is the most fundamental column that has supported human development, which is now under attack. Today, crimes against humanity are not just the occupation of lands and oppression against people through mass killings, but it’s also a concerted attack on the family itself. That is also a crime against humanity.

The protection of the nucleus of the family, made up of the sanctity of the marriage between a man and a woman, is an inherent truth to be accepted by the entire world.

Raisi took a triumphalist tone toward Iran’s ostensibly growing regional influence and the collapse of the post-World War 2 global order – a collapse he credited his terrorism-sponsoring Islamic Republic with engineering.

“The hegemony of the West no longer resonates with the diverse realities of today’s world. The old liberal order catering to the ambitions of voracious rulers whose hunger has no end, and to that of the capitalists, has been relegated to obsolescence. In short, endeavors to universalize American ideals throughout the world have been proven to be failures,” he declared.

“The Iranian nation takes pride in having instrumentally unmasked the true natures of the rulers in both the East and West through its Islamic revolution. In conjunction with other nations of west Asia, Iran has played a significant role in defeating the global arrogance,” he boasted.

Raisi criticized the “Cold War mentality” of sinister Western powers who are allegedly attempting to fan conflicts across the developing world to maintain their hegemony. “Cold War mentality” is one of the most common phrases to appear in Chinese Communist propaganda, so this might have been a hat tip to Iran’s senior partner in the emerging global axis of tyranny.

“Making trade corridors unsafe, diminishing countries from allies to dependents, stifling the economic progress of sovereign nations, and fomenting proxy wars across Asia and Europe are all elements of this sinister chain. Ironically, these actions are put forth in the name of defending democracy,” he fumed.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi addresses the 78th United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York City on September 19, 2023. (ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

Raisi sneered that the Western ideal of democracy “all too often is a code name for coup d’etats, occupations, and ongoing wars.” He dismissed these tactics as futile because the United States is “nearing the conclusion of its trajectory” into decline and irrelevance.

“The fruit of free nations – from Syria, to Palestine, to Yemen, to Afghanistan – the future prospects of the region can be secured through the cultivation of profound mutual political trust, fostering extensive economic cooperation and establishing indigenous security measures,” he said, naming four of the least free and least humane polities on the planet. Throughout his speech, Raisi used the word “freedom” to mean Islamic religious rule and political allegiance to Iran.

At the halfway point of his diatribe, Raisi tried to dismiss the Mahsa Amini uprising as a Western plot that was defeated by heroic Iranian security forces. The rest of his speech was filled with feverish and increasingly incoherent ravings, as he never came down from the high of trashing the hundreds of demonstrators his forces murdered as dupes of the West and agents of the Great Satan:

Last year was the year of the victory of the people of Iran. Certain Western nations and their intelligence services during the past year made a great mistake by the miscalculation  – they sought to diminish and underestimate the power of the Iranian peoples.

Since the Islamic Revolution’s victory under the leadership of the Imam Khomeini, the enemies of Iran, through various and continuous and incessant plots, sought to impose their will on our people. For more than 44 years, these policies have been defeated by the Iranian people, and the Iranian people have stood victorious again and again. Now the enemies are faced with an Islamic Republic, the power of which is based and the progress of which is based on profound ties with its people.

During the past year, the people of Iran witnessed the most significant waves of a media and psychological war waged against them. The United States of America, which now possesses the biggest women’s prison – therefore mothers’ prisons – cannot sincerely be the defender of women’s rights.

From here, Raisi launched into a turgid celebration of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the Iranian terror master who was liquidated by a U.S. airstrike after he arranged murderous attacks on American positions in Iraq, and failed in his effort to sack the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, which would have been an act of war.

In Raisi’s view, Soleimani was a “martyr” whose “sacrifices” made the region safe from the terrorism of ISIS, and vowed to “bring justice to all the perpetrators” of “this act of state-sanctioned terror.” 

“The terrorist act of his assassination was a prize given to Daesh on a silver platter,” he snarled, using another name for the Islamic State. He added a weird aside that “some American officials” have “confessed that ISIS was an American creation.

“Iran, who herself has been the biggest target of terrorism, has been at the forefront of fighting terrorism in the region. The people of the region see Iran as a secure partner for their own security, and the occupying regime in Jerusalem is seen as a perpetrator of much of the violence in the region,” he asserted, launching into his stock denunciation of Israel.

“Has the time not come to bring an end to the seven and a half decades of the occupation of Palestinian lands, of the demolition of their homes, of the blood of their women and children, and for the people of Palestine to be recognized officially as a country?” he asked, demanding Jerusalem as the capital of that new country.

Someone in Raisi’s speechwriting team remembered to throw in a hilariously brief homily to climate change, which was tough for the president of an oil-based economy to deliver, but he muddled through by claiming Iran has a vast array of untapped clean energy sources awaiting profitable foreign investment, although filthy Western capitalists presumably need not apply.

Photographs of victims of the Iranian regime are seen on the sidewalk as Iranians living in U.S. gather at the 47th Street and Second Avenue to protest the Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi visit ahead of his speech to U.N. General Assembly in New York, United States on September 19, 2023. (Celal Gunes/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Raisi also remembered to weigh in on Ukraine, by insisting Iran loves peace and supports no war anywhere. Then he blamed the U.S. for somehow forcing Russia to invade Ukraine.

“Any type of tension and fanning the flames of violence in Ukraine has been done by the United States of America in order to weaken the European countries. This is a long-term plan, unfortunately,” he said, without divulging what he thinks the next step in that plan might be.

The last quarter of Raisi’s speech was an unhinged rant against the United States over the Iran nuclear deal. 

“America’s leaving the JCPOA showed an official trampling upon their commitments by that government. It was an inappropriate response to our fulfillment of commitments within that framework,” he thundered, repeating various permutations of that argument several times, and naturally avoiding all mention of the Iranian violations that prompted the withdrawal.

Raisi insisted the U.S. must admit to its “crime” of leaving the nuclear deal and beg Iran’s forgiveness, a rather clear signal to the Biden administration that Iran’s intransigent demands in exchange for slowing down its relentless march to weapons-grade uranium have not been softened.

There was nothing even slightly conciliatory in Raisi’s remarks, no hint that relations with the U.S. might be improving after the hostage payoff, no climbdown from Iran’s policies of Persian Gulf piracy and destabilizing the region by supporting brutal insurgencies. He concluded by pronouncing America’s epitaph and celebrating Iran’s rise as a regional superpower.

“They are the past and we are the future,” Raisi told the General Assembly.


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