Monday, July 26, 2021

Iranian President-elect Ebrahim Raisi backs nuclear talks, rules out meeting Joe Biden

Iranian President-elect Ebrahim Raisi has backed talks between Iran and six world powers to revive a 2015 nuclear deal but he has rejected meeting U.S. President Joe Biden, even if Washington removed all sanctions.

In his first news conference since he was elected on Friday, Mr. Raisi said his foreign policy priority would be improving ties with Iran’s Gulf Arab neighbors, while calling on Iran’s regional rival Saudi Arabia to immediately halt its intervention in Yemen. The 60-year old leader who will take over from Hassan Rouhani on August 3 said he supports the negotiations that guarantee Iran’s national interests. Negotiations have been underway in Vienna since April to work out how Iran and the United States can both return to compliance with the nuclear pact, which Washington abandoned in 2018 under the then-President Donald Trump before reimposing sanctions on Iran.

However, the White House has downplayed Raisi’s influence, saying that no meeting was planned. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that their view is that the decision-maker in Iran is the supreme leader Khamenei.

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