Raisi Makes First Remarks Since Election

Iranian President-elect Ebrahim Raisi on Monday held his first news conference since being announced the Islamic Republic’s next leader, expressing support for the ongoing Vienna talks over resuscitation of the 2015 nuclear deal, but rejecting a hypothetical offer to meet with US President Joe Biden.

“We support the negotiations that guarantee our national interests. … America should immediately return to the deal and fulfill its obligations,” Raisi, 60, who himself is under US sanctions for his role in the mass killing of thousands of Iranian protesters in 1988, said.

After cruising to an expected landslide victory over previously approved opponents in a historically low-turnout election, Tehran’s new premier will assume office on August 3 and will look to salvage the nation of its economic woes. Later Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters President Biden had no intention of meeting Raisi. “Our view is that the decision-maker here is the supreme leader [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei].”

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