Iran insists on USA guarantees to revive 2015 nuclear pact

Irans hardline president struck a defiant tone on Wednesday by demanding guarantees the United States does not abandon any revived nuclear deal and by decrying double standards on human rights after the death of an Iranian woman in police custody.

Iran insists on USA guarantees to revive 2015 nuclear pact
Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi addresses the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters in New York City, U.S., September 21, 2022. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

UNITED NATIONS, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Iran's hardline president struck a defiant tone on Wednesday by demanding guarantees the United States does not abandon any revived nuclear deal and by decrying "double standards" on human rights after the death of an Iranian woman in police custody.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi also said Tehran wanted former USA President Donald Trump to face trial for the 2020 killing of Iran's top Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani in a USA drone attack in Iraq, holding up a picture of the general.

"There is a great and serious will to resolve all issues to revive the (2015 nuclear) deal," Raisi told the U.N. General Assembly. "We only wish one thing: observance of commitments."

Speaking shortly after Raisi, USA President Joe Biden reiterated his willingness to revive the nuclear pact under which Iran had agreed to restrain its atomic program in return for relief from economic sanctions.

In 2018, Trump withdrew the United States from Tehran's nuclear deal with major world powers and unilaterally reimposed sanctions that have hobbled Iran's economy.

A year later, Tehran reacted by gradually violating the deal's nuclear limits and reviving the USA, Israeli, and Gulf Arab fears that Iran may be seeking to obtain an atomic weapon, an ambition Iran denies.

"We have before us the experience of America's withdrawal from the (deal)," Raisi said. "With that experience and this perspective, can we ignore the important issue of guarantees for a durable agreement?."

Raisi also sought to deflect criticism of last week's death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by morality police in Tehran for "unsuitable attire".

At least seven people have been killed during protests across the country, as anger at their death in custody of Amini has unleashed fury in the streets since Friday with some calling for a "regime change".

"Iran rejects some of the double standards of some governments vis-a-vis human rights," he said. "Human rights belong to all, but unfortunately it is trampled upon by many governments," he added referring to the discovery of unmarked graves of indigenous people in Canada, the suffering of the Palestinians, and images of migrant children held in cages in the United States.

Biden expressed a willingness to return to the nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and made clear USA sympathies lay with the protesters in Iran.

"While the United States is prepared for a mutual return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action if Iran steps up to its obligations, the United States is clear: We will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon," he said, repeating a long-held USA position.

"We stand with the brave citizens and the brave women of Iran who right now are demonstrating to secure their basic rights," Biden added.

Amid the protests, Iran has restricted access to Meta Platforms Inc's Instagram, one of the last remaining social media platforms in the country, internet observatory NetBlocks said.

Reporting by Parisa Hafezi and Steve Holland; writing by Parisa Hafezi and Arshad Mohammed; editing by Andrew Cawthorne, Jonathan Oatis and Grant McCool