Ahead of UN trip, Raisi remains defiant over nuclear deal, no concessions

“The president was feisty with us, sprinkling his answers with a predictable antipathy toward Israel and the Jewish people,” the CBS reporter said.

By Adina Katz, World Israel News

In a wide-ranging interview with veteran American reporter Lesley Stahl for CBS’ ’60 Minutes,’ which aired Sunday evening, President Ebrahim Raisi said Iran would not back down on any of its terms for a revived nuclear deal.

“As he prepares for his trip to the UN, President Raisi is defiant. His message: No concessions in the nuclear deal. Iran will not back down. And it can survive the sanctions,” Stahl told her viewers.

It was his first interview with a Western reporter. “I was told how to dress, not to sit before he did, and not to interrupt him,” she said.

Asked if he would like the deal to be renewed, Raisi said:

“If it’s a good deal and fair deal, we would be serious about reaching an agreement. It needs to be lasting. There needs to be guarantees. If there were guarantees, the Americans could not withdraw from the deal.”

“But you can pull out of the deal,” Stahl noted.

“You see, the Americans broke their promises,” the president responded. “They did it unilaterally… Now, making promises has become meaningless… We cannot trust the Americans because of the behavior we have already seen from them. That is why there is no guarantee. There is no trust.”

Read  Iran just 2 years from nuclear bomb delivery, detonation - report

“The president was feisty with us, sprinkling his answers with a predictable antipathy toward Israel and the Jewish people,” the journalist commented later.

As for whether he believes that the Holocaust happened and that six million Jews were murdered, Raisi said:

“Look, historical events should be investigated by researchers and historians. There are some signs that it happened. If so, they should allow it to be investigated and researched.”

“So, you’re not sure? What about Israel’s right to exist?” Stahl asked.

“You see, the people of Palestine are the reality,” he responded. “This is the right of the people of Palestine who were forced to leave their houses and motherland. The Americans are supporting this false regime there, to take root and be established there.”

He also refused to acknowledge any evidence of Iran’s aim to acquire a nuclear bomb, insisting that any progress made has been for peaceful purposes, “like in medicine, agriculture, oil, gas.”

As for the four Americans held captive in Iran, their release would not be included in the negotiations. Iranians are imprisoned in America, he said, calling it a “humanitarian issue” that needs to be “negotiated separately.”

He would not be open to a meeting with Biden and sees no difference between his administration and that of former president Donald Trump.

Read  Cruz blasts call for FBI investigation of IDF, ‘everyone involved should be fired’

“I don’t think having a meeting or talk with him would be beneficial,” he said. “The new administration claims they are different, they have said it to us, but we haven’t witnessed it in reality.”

Iran has vowed revenge for the assassination of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) leader Qassem Soleimani, Stahl noted. “Are you intending to retaliate by assassinating officials from the Trump administration?”

“What the then-American government did by the direct order of Trump himself to assassinate Mr. Qassem Soleimani was a heinous crime. We want justice to be served. We are not going to forget about this,” Raisi said.

Justice? an eye for an eye?

“That’s the type of actions that the American and Zionist regimes have been doing all over the world. We are not going to be carrying out the same actions,” he claimed, despite the fact that the U.S. Department of Justice has charged an IRGC member with just that, plotting to assassinate John Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser, Stahl said.

Stahl concluded her report by saying that “after what seemed like a cordial conversation, a member of Raisi’s staff reached up and blocked one of our cameramen from shooting our goodbyes. Another cameraman’s phone was confiscated and held by Raisi’s security team for two and a half hours.”