Iranian President-Elect Ebrahim Raisi said that the U.S. must lift all "oppressive sanctions" against the Iranian people, and that lifting the sanctions will be the mainstay of his administration's foreign policy. Raisi made these remarks at his first press conference after being elected president, which aired on IRINN TV (Iran) on June 21, 2021. Assed Baig, Al-Jazeera Network's English correspondent in Iran, asked Raisi about personal sanctions against him because he was responsible for thousands of executions, and about Amnesty International's call to investigate him for crimes against humanity. To this, Raisi responded that "human rights have been my main concern in all the positions I have held." He said that as president, he will be committed to human rights. Raisi added that the world will reach peace and security if the people who claim to defend human rights today, but have created ISIS and the militant groups,"are put on trial." For more about Ebrahim Raisi in his previous role as head of the Iranian judiciary, see MEMRI TV clips nos. 8584, 7654, and 7327.
Ebrahim Raisi: "The nuclear negotiations team will continue to take care of things. They have sent us reports. My foreign policy team is going over the reports of these dear people, who deal with the negotiations. With regard to the sanctions, American must lift all the oppressive sanctions against the Iranian people. The path that has been emphasized by the current government will also be emphasized by the next government: The lifting of the sanctions and ensuring that they were indeed lifted will be the mainstay of our foreign policy."
Interviewer: "There are sanctions against you. Human rights organizations say thousands were executed whilst you sat in a committee that oversaw those executions in 1988. On the day you were elected, Amnesty International said [that] you should be investigated for crimes against humanity. Do you think these issues will be difficult for you when you interact with world leaders, especially Western leaders, and do you intend on visiting the West?"
Raisi: "Human rights have been my main concern in all the positions I have held. The people who make [these] accusations should be told that today, we are the ones to champion human rights, we are the ones who champion the right of human beings. All the actions I have taken in my different capacities have always been in defense of human rights. The people who disrupted human rights have taken ISIS-like actions that harmed our security. I have always championed human rights within the legal system and as a judge. I have always acted in the defense of the rights of human beings. Today, the people who violate human rights in the world are the ones who should be held accountable about how – as can be seen by the citizens of the whole world – they violate the rights of human beings. If a legal expert, a judge, or a prosecutor defended the rights of the public and the security of our society, he should be appreciated and encouraged for defending the public's right in the face of attacks and threats. I am proud that in my capacity as a prosecutor, in the position I held, I defended those rights and the security and well-being of the public. Today too, as president, I see myself committed to the defense of human rights, regardless of ethnic group, tongue, or place in the world. If the people who claim today to defend human rights, but have created ISIS and the militant groups and pitted them against the people, will be held accountable and placed on trial – rest assured that the world will reach peace and security."