Ebrahim Raisi, the President of Iran, traveled to the United States for the second time to attend the United Nations General Assembly.
The plane carrying him touched down in New York on Monday while the airline he used, Meraj, is on the US sanctions list.
Simultaneously with the trip, a prisoner exchange between Iran and the United States took place. The journey also coincides with the anniversary of the Iranian people's uprising.
Human Rights Watch had called on government officials to question the Iranian delegation at the General Assembly regarding the suppression of protesters.
However, Matthew Miller, the spokesperson for the US Department of State, commented on issuing a visa for Raisi to attend the UN General Assembly despite his background in mass executions and human rights violations, saying, “We have an obligation as the host country to admit representatives of other countries no matter what we think of those countries' policies.”
Upon his arrival in the US, Raisi attributed the protests in Iran to the “hostile intentions” of Western nations.
Raisi had previously expressed hope that he would act in line with the "views and aspirations" of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. He also stated, "I will be the voice of the people at the United Nations General Assembly."
His trip to the US last year occurred just days after the regime's killing of Mahsa Amini and the beginning of popular protests.
However, without explicitly mentioning Amini’s death, he downplayed the case as a matter of little significance, with investigations ongoing.