Iran’s New President Endorses Nuclear Talks, Won’t Meet Biden

Raisi sees focus on improving ties with Gulf Arabs


Iran’s new President-elect Ebrahim Raisi has held his first news conference since last week’s election, and is setting out a goal for his foreign policy. A conservative, termed a hardliner by some, Raisi’s goals are not wildly dissimilar from those of outgoing reformist President Rouhani.

Raisi said his goal is to ease international sanctions, and he endorsed the JCPOA nuclear deal. He said his assessment is that the US should immediately return and fulfill its obligations to the deal.

This is important, as the JCPOA negotiations have advanced ahead of the vote. Iran’s outgoing government has suggested a deal be made before Raisi takes power, but if his position so resembles theirs, it likely is not so dire a need to finalize right away.

Beyond the nuclear deal, Raisi also suggested that a major focus of his administration will be improving ties with the Gulf Arab states. That is a tall order, as those nations have heavily built their policy on acrimony toward Iran.

Raisi added that he doesn’t intend to meet with Biden. This is likely just as well, as the White House said they don’t view the Iranian president as worth meeting, and rather believe the Supreme Leader is the real decision maker.

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