TEHRAN – Iran’s new
government is prepared to hold talks with world countries to revive its 2015 nuclear accord but it is not seeking to do so under Western “pressure”, President Ebrahim Raisi has said.
Raisi, in a live interview with national television Saturday night, said Tehran expects negotiations to come along with the removal of U.S. sanctions.
“The Westerners and the Americans are after talks together with pressure ... What kind of talks is that? I have already announced that we will have talks on our government’s agenda but not with ... pressure,” said Raisi, who assumed office last month.
“Talks are on the agenda, but not talks for the sake of talks, or negotiations for the sake of negotiations. We are seeking goal-oriented negotiations ... so sanctions on the Iranian people are removed,” he continued.
“In these talks, we seek to obtain the removal of oppressive sanctions,” he added. “We will not give in on the interests of the great Iranian nation.”
France and Germany have urged Iran to return to negotiations given the break in talks following Iranian elections in June, with Paris earlier this week demanding an immediate restart. At the time, Foreign Minister Hussein Amir-Abdollahian said that stalled talks might not resume for another two to three months.
At the end of August, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said Biden’s administration is making the same demands as his predecessor in talks to revive the accord.
“The current U.S. administration is no different from the previous administration. Its demand is the same as Trump’s demand and it has not changed at all. Behind the scenes of foreign policy, smile and self-righteous talk, America is a predatory wolf that sometimes turns into a cunning fox,” the Leader said in a meeting with the new Iranian administration.
Raisi’s remarks came just after Washington issued new sanctions against four Iranians whom it said of targeted a New York blogger – an accusation which Tehran has rebuffed as preposterous.
Earlier on Saturday, Iran’s foreign ministry slammed the U.S. for doubling down on its baseless accusation with Friday’s sanctions.
“Unfortunately, the current U.S. officials are pursuing the failed path of the previous administration,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said.
“The supporters and merchants of sanctions in the United States have found their sanctions toolbox empty due to Iran’s maximum resistance, and this time, by resorting to Hollywood scenarios, they are trying to keep alive their life derived from the sanctions environment,” he said.
“Washington should know that it has no choice but to abandon its addiction to sanctions and use respectful language and conduct with regard to Tehran.”
Raisi also commented on a broad gamut of issues in his first televised address.
He said Iran is calling for elections in Afghanistan to determine the future of the country, where he hopes peace will return after Western troops have left and the Taliban have seized control.
Raisi said the Afghan people should vote to determine their own government “as soon as possible.”
“A government should be established there which is elected by the votes and the will of the people,” he said.
“The Islamic Republic has always sought peace and calm in Afghanistan, and an end to bloodshed and fratricide, and the sovereignty of the people’s will. We support a government elected by the Afghan people,” he added.
The Iranian president said the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan for two decades only resulted in the suffering of the Afghan people.
“As a result of the oppression that the Americans and other foreign countries imposed on Afghanistan, the country has suffered a great wound,” Raisi said.