Iran’s president-elect said on Monday that he will not meet with President Joe Biden or negotiate on Tehran’s ballistic missile program and its support for regional militias, maintaining a hard-line position following his landslide victory in the elections last week.
Ebrahim Raisi also described himself as a “human rights defender” when asked about his involvement in the mass execution of some 5,000 people in 1988. It was the first time he had been put in trouble on television in I live for that dark moment in Iran’s history at the end of the Iran-Iraq war.
“The United States is obliged to lift all oppressive sanctions against Iran,” Raisi said at the press conference.
Raisi sat in front of a sea of microphones, mostly from Iran and countries that are home to Tehran-backed militias. He seemed nervous at the beginning of his comments, but gradually became more comfortable during the hour-long press conference.
The rigorous cleric indicated that the Iranian ballistic missile program and its regional influence “will not be negotiable” despite the demands of the United States to include those issues in a broader agreement. “We insist, regional issues or Iran’s missile issues will not be negotiable. What they have agreed they do not comply with, how do they want to get into other issues?” Raisí said at his first press conference after winning the presidential elections.
The cleric and current head of the Judiciary, who obtained 61.9% of the votes in the elections, advised the United States to “comply as soon as possible with its commitments and lift the sanctions”, which Washington imposed after unilaterally withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran.
Encounter with Biden
Asked about the option of having a direct meeting with Biden if the United States removes its sanctions and returns to the 2015 nuclear agreement, JCPOA in its acronym in English, Raisí answered with a resounding “no.”
The White House did not immediately respond to Raisi’s remarks on Monday. Raisi will become the first sitting Iranian president to be sanctioned by the US government even before taking office, sanctions imposed during his time as head of Iran’s judiciary that is criticized internationally, for allegedly being one of the world’s leading ones. that endorses executions.
Negotiations between Iran and the five powers that remain in the JCPOA (Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom and Germany) began last April in Vienna to find a mechanism that would allow the United States to return to the pact, which it abandoned in 2018, and Iran to fulfill its commitments again.
The last meeting of the sixth round of negotiations was held on Sunday, in which the United States participates indirectly. There have been important advances that could lead to a final conclusion in the next round.
On the position of Washington and the three European countries of the nuclear agreement, Raisí denounced that “the US violated the JCPOA and the Europeans did not keep their promises either.”
“The Iranian people ask them to fulfill their obligations; the people ask the (Iranian) government to recover their rights and we are going to recover their rights,” said the cleric, who will assume the presidency next August.
The 2015 nuclear pact established limits and restrictions on Iran’s civilian nuclear program to prevent it from developing atomic bombs. In return, Tehran obtained economic advantages from the lifting of international sanctions.
Raisí also announced that “the current negotiating team will continue its work” and that his own foreign policy team is already “studying the reports.”
Raisi’s election puts hardliners in firm control of the government as negotiations in Vienna continue to try to salvage a tattered deal aimed at limiting Iran’s nuclear program, at a time when Tehran is enriching uranium at the same time 60%, its highest levels so far, although still below the level to be considered an armament.
Representatives of the world powers part of the agreement returned to their capitals for consultations after the latest round of negotiations on Sunday.