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In New York, Pres. Raeisi advises US media executives to ‘tell truth’ about Iran

By Press TV Staff Writer

In a meeting with top-notch American media representatives on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York on Monday, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raeisi answered a barrage of questions tossed at him.

President Raeisi arrived in New York early on Monday to participate in the 78th session of the world’s premier conference of heads of state, which will see the attendance of more than 140 leaders and state representatives this year.

Ahead of the General Debate on Tuesday, Iran’s president held a series of meetings, including with the executives of leading American media organizations.

The issues that came up for discussion included the prisoner swap between Iran and the US, Iran’s relations with regional countries, US meddling in the Persian Gulf, last year's West-backed riots in Iran, the Ukraine war, etc.

Iran to decide how to use released funds

In response to the question on how the $6 billion in frozen funds released following the full implementation of the prisoner swap deal on Monday will be used, President Raeisi said the unblocked money will be spent on meeting the needs of the people of Iran.

He affirmed that the funds that were illegally frozen by South Korean authorities under American pressure belong to the people of Iran and will be used for their welfare.

President Raeisi echoed the remarks he made in an interview with the NBC network in Tehran last week that his government, not the US authorities, will decide how to spend $6 billion in previously frozen funds.

Earlier on Monday, the Central Bank of Iran chief Mohammad Reza Farzin confirmed that the Islamic Republic’s unblocked funds totaling some $6 billion have been transferred to some Qatari banks.

“We received an official letter from the Qatari authorities yesterday, according to which the accounts of Iranian banks had been activated, and today, 5.573 billion and 492 thousand euros have been deposited into the accounts of six Iranian banks at two banks, Al Ahli and Al Dukhan,” the top banker said.

In a separate statement on Monday, Iran’s foreign ministry slammed different US administrations for barring Iran’s access to its frozen foreign assets in other countries, terming the move "illegal and inhumane."

The prisoner swap deal between Iran and the US was finally implemented on Monday, with five American prisoners in Iran arrested for espionage moved to Qatar and five Iranian prisoners in the US also freed.

In Monday’s interaction with the American media executives, President Raeisi also advised them to “tell the facts” about the Islamic Republic of Iran and not peddle lies and propaganda.

US presence in region source of insecurity

President Raeisi also touched on the grave issue of foreign presence and interference in the Persian Gulf region, especially the presence of the US forces which is a source of tension and destabilization.

He firmly asserted - as he has on several occasions in the past - that American intervention and presence in the Persian Gulf region “does not create security in any way”, rather is counter-productive.

If the US stops its meddlesome activities in the countries of the Persian Gulf region and other regions of the world and focuses on its internal affairs, President Raeisi remarked, the world will become a better place.

President Raeisi and other senior Iranian officials have often referred to the destabilizing role of the US-led allied forces in the Persian Gulf and called for their unconditional ouster.

The American presence in the region, according to observers, is meant to provide cover to foreign-flagged vessels stealing and smuggling oil and to foment insecurity for regional countries, including Iran.

President Raeisi described the promotion of relations with Iran's neighbors as one of his administration's key policies, stressing that “the main reason behind some problems in the regional countries’ relations has been foreign intervention, especially by the United States.” 

He also referred to the failure of the so-called “normalization process” between the Israeli regime and some Arab states, noting that it would not bring security and stability to the region.

West-backed riots in Iran ended in failure

On last year’s deadly riots in Iran that were backed by the Western governments and the Israeli regime, President Raeisi said the engineers of the riots “made a miscalculation” and failed to achieve their goals.

The riots were triggered by the death of 22-year-old Iranian woman Mahsa Amini while in police custody in mid-September, which the Western governments blamed on Iranian security agencies.

However, as the medical and forensic reports later established, Amini had died of natural causes and there was no hand of police or other security agencies in her unfortunate death.

However, showing utter disregard for available scientific evidence, the US and European countries imposed many rounds of sanctions on Iranian individuals and entities on the pretext of “repression of protests.”

“The United States and some other Western countries made a miscalculation that if they could manage part of the riots in Iran, they would achieve their goals,” Iran’s president asserted, adding that the Iranian nation foiled their plots.

He hastened to add that had the US and its Western allies not made such a “miscalculation”, the prisoner exchange deal between Tehran and Washington would have happened earlier than this.

The years of sanctions, President Raeisi noted, have failed due to indomitable resistance displayed by the Iranian nation and even the White House has admitted that the sanctions policy has failed.

Iran is against the war in Ukraine

In response to one of the questions, President Raeisi said the Islamic Republic of Iran is strongly against the war in Ukraine and relations between Tehran and Moscow predate the ongoing war.

He also vehemently dismissed repetitive accusations against the Islamic Republic of supplying drones to Russia for use in the Ukraine war, saying if there is any documentary evidence, it should be presented to Iran.

President Raeisi said meetings were held between the two sides in Oman and Ukraine to discuss the matter but the Ukrainian side failed to provide any document to support their claims.

He also voiced Iran’s readiness to mediate between the two warring parties, Russia and Ukraine, while advising Americans to make efforts to end the war rather than fanning its flames through the supply of arms to Kiev.

Since February 2022, the US and its European allies have imposed a slew of sanctions on Iran, accusing it of sending drones to Russia. Iran has repeatedly rejected the claims, asking for evidence.

Human rights record of the US is dark

President Raeisi also commented on the human rights situation in the United States, particularly referring to crimes committed against Black Americans amid the massive wave of racism sweeping the country.

He cited official statistics and reports to say that more than a thousand people were killed by the American police last year alone, asking the media executives why they didn’t follow up on it.

Iran’s president also referred to the brutal shooting of pregnant Black woman Ta’Kiya Young in Ohio recently, which drew public anger and revived calls for an end to police violence against Black Americans.

“Why is the attack on people of color not a concern for Western media,” President Raeisi asked the senior media representatives, while also slamming the draconian ban on Hijab in France.

President Raeisi said the Muslim girls in France are prevented from going to school because of the Hijab, Muslim headgear, questioning the silence of American mainstream media on the issue.

He also called out the hypocrisy of Western media on nuclear issues, which focuses on some countries (such as Iran) and pays no attention to other nuclear powers, including the illegitimate regime in Tel Aviv.

Iran’s president also questioned Western media’s coverage of the Afghanistan war, saying more than 180,000 people were killed and tens of thousands of children were disabled due to the US invasion of the country.

“The issues of women, Hijab, human rights and the nuclear issue,” he said, “are all pretexts by the Americans and Westerners to damage the Islamic republic as an independent country.”

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