Iran’s president-elect, Sayyid Ebrahim Raisol-Sadati, commonly known as Ebrahim Raisi, has welcomed the negotiations with six world powers aimed at reviving a 2015 nuclear deal but flatly rejected meeting U.S. President Joe Biden, even if Washington removed all sanctions or negotiate over Tehran’s ballistic missile programme and its support of regional militias.
In 2015, Iran and six other countries reached a major agreement to stop Iran from carrying out some nuclear work in return for an end to sanctions, hurting its economy.
Some countries are of the opinion that Iran wants nuclear power because it wants to build a nuclear bomb but Iran has denied the allegation.
At his first news conference since his victory on Friday’s election with 62% of the vote in the first round, Ebrahim Raisi 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.
Raisi became Iran’s eighth president in an election that saw a turnout of 48.8%, the lowest since the 1979 revolution.
“We support the negotiations that guarantee our national interests … America should immediately return to the deal and fulfill its obligations under the deal,” he said.
Raisi, 60, a strident critic of the West, a hard-line Shia Muslim cleric who is head of Iran’s judiciary and is close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will take over from pragmatist Hassan Rouhani on August 3.
Since April, negotiations have been under way in Vienna 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 three years ago.
“We will not allow negotiations to be for negotiations’ sake. Negotiations should not be dragged out but each sitting should bear results. A result-oriented [negotiation] is important to us and it should have an outcome for the Iranian nation,” the hardline critic said on the Vienna talks.
Raisi said Iran’s foreign policy would not be limited to the nuclear deal, adding that “all U.S. sanctions must be lifted and verified by Tehran.”
“I am proud to have defended human rights in every position I have held so far” Rasisi said when asked about his human rights record on Monday.
Raisi is under U.S. sanctions over his involvement in the mass extrajudicial executions of thousands of political prisoners in the Islamic Republic in 1988 when he was Tehran’s deputy prosecutor.