Iran’s President-elect backs nuclear deal negotiations but says they ‘should not be dragged out’

Reuters: Majid Asgaripour/WANA)

Iran’s President-elect Ebrahim Raisi has warned that negotiations on a deal to remove sanctions should not be drawn out.(Reuters: Majid Asgaripour/WANA)

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

Key points:

  • Negotiations have been under way in Vienna since April
  • Former US president Donald Trump abandoned the agreement and reimposed sanctions in 2018
  • The US and Iran both say there are no plans for leaders to meet

In his first news conference since he was elected on Friday, the hardline cleric said his foreign policy priority would be improving ties with Iran’s Gulf Arab neighbours, while calling on Iran’s regional rival Saudi Arabia to immediately halt its intervention in Yemen.

Mr Raisi, 60, a strident critic of the West, will take over from pragmatist Hassan Rouhani on August 3 as Iran seeks to salvage the tattered nuclear deal and be rid of punishing US sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy.

“We support the negotiations that guarantee our national interests… America should immediately return to the deal and fulfil its obligations under the deal,” he said.

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