TEHRAN — Iran’s president warned Monday that any roadmap to bring the U.S. back to compliance with the 2015 nuclear agreement must see inspectors end their probe on uranium particles found at undeclared sites in the country, to which Tehran has answered in the past.
In a news conference marking his first year in office, President Ebrahim Raisi also issued warning to the occupying regime of Israel and provided an upbeat assessment about Iran’s economy and rial currency.
Talks in Vienna on bringing Washington back to compliance hang in the balance. Tehran and Washington have traded written responses in recent weeks on the finer points of the roadmap, which would see sanctions lifted against Iran.
“Negotiations are underway within the same framework and focused on the removal of sanctions. We insist on verification and confidence-building measures during the course of negotiations. We also emphasize on the full resolution of safeguard issues. This is an important issue, and any talk of an agreement would have not meaning unless issues are resolved,” the president said.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’s Board of Governors issued a U.S.-crafted resolution against Iran shortly after its head Rafael Grossi paid a controversial visit to Occupied Palestine and met Israeli leaders.
Raisi mentioned the traces — referring to its as a “safeguards” issue using the IAEA’s language. “Without settlement of safeguard issues, speaking about an agreement has no meaning,” he said.
The president said Iran is both following the neutralization of the sanctions, for which it has set up a headquarters, and the removal of sanctions through negotiations.
“Negotiations are for the sake of removing the sanctions. Those who abandoned their commitments should return and fulfill their obligations. Our emphasis in these negotiations is on the removal of sanctions.”
The president said many of the sanctions aimed at restraining Iran have fallen flat due to the country’s resistance.
“The level of our interactions with regional countries has increased up to five times. Our oil exports are in a state where we feel we should do our best and continue to export oil and non-oil commodities.”
Raisi also demanded the release of Iran’s assets frozen abroad.
The president also warned the occupying regime of Israel, saying if it decides to attack Iran’s nuclear program, “they will see if anything from the Zionist regime will remain or not.”
Raisi said the Islamic Republic has made great progress in various
sectors of the nuclear industry, namely in the oil and energy fields.
“The Zionist regime has long been opposed to Iran acquiring the right to nuclear technology. But this know-how has been indigenized in our country, and cannot be taken from us in any way,” he said.
“Their threats will not go anywhere. The assassination of nuclear scientists was aimed at stopping this trend. A lot of sabotage acts were carried out in order to stop us, but we didn’t stop. They cannot stop us to assert this definite right.”
At his first news conference, Raisi famously simply said “no” when asked if he would meet with President Joe Biden. Asked again Monday as the UN General Assembly looms next month, Raisi stuck to his earlier answer.
“There is no benefit for a meeting between us and him,” the president said. “Neither for the Iranian nation nor for the interests of our great nation.”
Raisi also stressed that Iran-China ties are fully independent of any third party influence, noting that outside international developments have no bearing on relations between Tehran and Beijing.
Bilateral ties exist in various areas, especially in commercial and economic areas, and should be further expanded, he added.
The president referred to the 25-year comprehensive cooperation agreement between the two nations, stressing that Tehran is determined to implement the deal besides the partnership treaties that it has already signed with Beijing.
As for Iran’s full membership of in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Raisi said, “Our presence in the SCO and cooperation with its member states are of great importance. It connects us to the economic infrastructure of Asia. It is very important for our country to have its own share of trade and economy in the region.”
Raisi also reiterated that Tehran and Moscow enjoy strategic cooperation in various areas, have exchanged documents, and started joint work in the development of energy fields.
“Iran has been pursuing the policy of good neighborliness…Foreign presence in the region creates problems, and does not provide security for regional states,” he said.
Raisi also noted that fence-mending negotiations between senior representatives from Iran and Saudi Arabia are ongoing in the Iraqi capital Baghdad in order to resolve differences between the two countries and restore diplomatic relations.
The Iranian president finally stated that Tehran and Ankara enjoy good bilateral ties and closely cooperate with each other concerning regional issues and developments.
“Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has promised to pursue joint water diplomacy with neighbors,” Raisi said.