NEW YORK CITY: Nikki Haley, a former US ambassador to the UN, told an audience in New York City that the US is being a “stupid host” by allowing Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to attend the UN General Assembly in the city and give a speech.
Speaking at the 2022 summit of United Against Nuclear Iran, on the sidelines of the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly, the former governor of South Carolina said that Iran is the world’s “number one state sponsor of terrorism” and yet the current US administration is “falling over itself” to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran.
Former President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the agreement, more formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, in 2018.
In a conversation with Joseph Lieberman, a former US senator who represented Connecticut for more than two decades, Haley said Iran is “not looking to get into a deal” and highlighted the regime’s record of violence and human rights abuses.
She said that Tehran has “never kept a promise” as she told the packed audience in a midtown Manhattan hotel that the regime’s representatives chant “‘death to America, death to Israel,’ every single day” and this should severely restrict the extent to which the US deals with Iran on the diplomatic stage.
She said that Iranians “claim they are great on human rights” but the world “needs to see them for the thugs that they are.” She highlighted the death on Friday of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman, who was beaten by police in Iran after they detained her for “improperly” wearing a hijab.
Outlining “assassinations attempts on Americans, here in our country” that were organized by Tehran she asked: “Why did President Biden approve of Raisi giving a world speech in New York City? It’s unthinkable that we would have given him that.”
At the start of the UANI summit, Lieberman said: “The regime (in Tehran) has continued to be the number one state supporter of terrorism in the world, bringing death and destruction in the Middle East.”
Haley echoed those remarks and said the US must resist becoming a “stupid host” by inviting to the country Iranian leaders who plot against America’s national security and other interests.
She noted that the UK had adopted a more strict diplomatic stance with Russia after a shocking incident in Salisbury in June 2018 in which a Russian former military officer, who was a double agent for the British security services, and his daughter were poisoned using a Novichok nerve agent.
British intelligence services concluded the attack was sanctioned and organized by Moscow. Haley said the British response should serve as inspiration to the US as it continues to face threats from Tehran.
She continued: “All the money going to Iran is not going to feed their people, it’s going to feed their nuclear program … so you sanction and isolate them in such a way that the people of Iran win … but also the fact that the regime cannot do any of the bad things they want to do.
“They want money, it would be foolish of us to give it. They have one intention: Continue to beat the West and the democracies out there, and to get their ideology out there.”
Haley called for more of the focus on international relations with Iran and efforts to deal with the regime in Tehran to shift to regional neighbors such as Saudi Arabia and Israel, and away from the US and Europe, arguing that this would result in a sterner response to the Iranian leadership.
“Let Iran’s neighbors lead the charge on what to do with Iran … once they start to do that, the accountability will come from Iran’s neighbors and that’s when we’ll get progress,” she said.