The president-elect of Iran insisted he would not meet with President Joe Biden, whose administration seeks to reinstate the nuclear agreement with the nation that was signed during the Obama administration and revoked by President Donald Trump.
Ebrahim Raisi, formerly the chief of Iran’s judiciary, said on Monday that he is unwilling to negotiate over the proliferation of his country’s nuclear weapons program, something the United States and close regional ally Israel seek to slow, and urged the U.S. to ease pressures imposed on top officials and the Iranian economy.
“The U.S. is obliged to lift all oppressive sanctions against Iran,” Raisi told reporters, according to the Associated Press.
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Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif previously indicated that there was no interest among the country’s leadership for direct meetings between top U.S. and Iranian officials and implicated sanctions, even as representatives from both countries were scheduled to meet days later in Vienna, Austria, to discuss complying with the nuclear deal.
“No Iran-US meeting. Unnecessary,” he tweeted on April 2. “Aim: Rapidly finalize sanction-lifting & nuclear measures for choreographed removal of all sanctions, followed by Iran ceasing remedial measures.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki expressed a more optimistic view ahead of the Vienna negotiations.
“This is a welcome and potentially constructive early step, even if the diplomatic road ahead may be long, as it was during the first negotiations around the [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action]. We are very clear-eyed about the hurdles that remain,” Psaki said on April 2.
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Raisi, who himself is subject to U.S. sanctions in part for his involvement in a “death commission” responsible for the execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988, also addressed his role in the executions by calling himself a “defender of human rights” during the Monday press conference.
The president-elect won 17.9 million out of 28.9 million votes cast during the June 18 election, about 62% of the total.
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Tags: News, Iran, Iran Nuclear Deal, Foreign Policy, Iran sanctions, Biden Administration
Original Author: Jeremy Beaman
Original Location: Iranian president-elect says he will not meet with Biden or negotiate nuclear program