Is Iran’s Geopolitical Charm Offensive Working?

Dr. Munr Kazmir
4 min readSep 19

Last month, it was BRICS. This week, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is visiting the U.S. amid a cloud of controversy.

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi met H.E. Dr. Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran on the sidelines of the 15th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg. August 25, 2023. (Photo: MEAphotogallery)

This week, while Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is visiting the U.S., he will be greeted by life-sized reminders of the crimes of which he and his regime stand accused.

“Open to everyone, except this murderer,” read the signs, each affixed to a life-sized cut-out of the Iranian President.

Empire State of mind games: Israel trolls Iran president on New York visit,” quipped Itamar Eichner for Y Net News in August.

“Foreign Ministry and Consulate in New York place life-sized cardboard cutouts of Raisi holding a noose next to sites in Manhattan he won’t be able to visit during his US trip due to sanctions against him; ‘No PR efforts can conceal Raisi’s crimes against humanity,’” wrote Eichner.

Raisi’s visit to the U.S. isn’t happening in a vacuum. After years of stalled talks between the two nations, there have been reports that the U.S. and Iran have been moving towards a new agreement in recent weeks. Besides Raisi’s visit, there have been other signs.

Iran, US swap prisoners as Raisi arrives in New York,” reported Amwaj Media on September 17, 2023.

“Iran and the US are tentatively set to exchange prisoners in Qatar at 2 pm local time on Sept. 18, Amwaj. media has learned,” began the outlet. “In the absence of a last-minute hiccup, the swap will take place as Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi arrives in New York, where he is slated to address the United Nations General Assembly.”

“This comes as Iran’s previously frozen assets in South Korea have been fully transferred to Qatar via the Swiss central bank — where they will be made available for non-sanctionable trade — setting the stage for Tehran and Washington to proceed with the long-awaited prisoner swap,” continued Amwaj.

President Raisi is representing an Iranian government under new pressures to provide immediate and discernable benefits from the recent diplomatic breakthrough it brokered with Saudi Arabia.

Iran’s rulers are also under enormous pressure to show that they are capable of extracting concessions from President Joe Biden.