Iran's president-elect Ebrahim Raisi declines meeting with Biden, calls on US to return to 2015 deal

World Tuesday 22/June/2021 07:27 AM
Iran's president-elect Ebrahim Raisi declines meeting with Biden, calls on US to return to 2015 deal
Raisi has promised to fight corruption and poverty.

Tehran : Iranian President-elect Ebrahim Raisi on Monday ruled out a meeting with US President Joe Biden and called on the United States to return to the 2015 nuclear deal, in his first international conference after winning country's presidential election over the weekend.

Addressing the media, Raisi said that he would not meet with Biden, even if both sides agreed on terms to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, under which Iran agreed to stop uranium enrichment in return for the lifting of US sanctions, reported CNN. Iran is currently indirectly negotiating with the US in Vienna over how to salvage the nuclear agreement, from which former President Donald Trump's administration unilaterally withdrew in 2018.

The Iranian President-elect, in response to a question from CNN on Monday, accused the US and the European Union of violating the nuclear deal and called on Biden to lift all sanctions against Iran. He also said that his country's ballistic missile program was "not up for negotiation".

"My serious proposal to the United States government is for them to return [to the agreement] in an expedited manner ... in doing so they will prove their sincerity... The people of Iran do not have good memories of the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action)," he said.

"The Americans trampled on the JCPOA and the Europeans failed to live up to their commitment. I reiterate to the US that you were committed to lifting the sanctions -- come back and live up to your commitments," he added.

He also said that the maximum pressure sanctions imposed by the Trump administration on Iran were not successful, adding that "our people have shown they can withstand the pressure".

Trump abandoned the nuclear deal in 2018 and reimposed crippling sanctions on Iran. In response, Tehran resumed some nuclear activities.

According to CNN, Raisi also said he hoped his tenure would see a restoration of ties with Iran's regional foe, Saudi Arabia. The President-elect added that he would place "no barriers" on efforts to reopen embassies in both countries.

The new Iranian leader also called on Saudi Arabia to cease hostilities in Yemen. "Stability must return so that the people of Yemen can decide for themselves ... whom they wish to give those management responsibilities to. And again we reiterate the most immediate cessation of attacks by the Saudis against Yemen," he said.

He also did not comment on the death panel allegations against him, where he reportedly oversaw the mass execution of up to 5,000 political prisoners in 1988.

"I've always defended the rights of the people. Human rights have been the most foundational base upon which I worked," the ultra-conservative leader said.

Raisi was elected as Iran's eighth president, the country's interior ministry has announced on Saturday.

Raisi will take office in early August, replacing moderate President Hassan Rouhani who was not allowed by the constitution to run for a third consecutive term.

Raisi has become the first Iranian president to be sanctioned by the United States even before assuming office as he was designated in 2019.

The US blacklisted him for his role in the mass execution of political prisoners in 1988, his involvement in the crackdown on the 2009 Green Movement protests, and "administration of oversight over the executions of individuals who were juveniles at the time of their crime".

Raisi has promised to fight corruption and poverty. He has indicated that he would continue indirect talks with the United States on reviving a 2015 nuclear deal while making it clear he will call for sanctions against Iran to be lifted.