Iranian president says U.S. must guarantee it would stay in nuclear deal

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, in his first US media interview, said that without guarantees that the United States would not unilaterally withdraw from the deal again in the future, the Biden administration’s pledge to stick to a new nuclear deal is “meaningless.” ” be.

“If it is a good and fair deal, we would seriously seek an agreement. It has to last,” Raisi said through an interpreter in an interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes, conducted in Tehran last week and aired Sunday night. But he added: “We cannot trust the Americans because of the behavior we have already seen from them. Therefore, if there is no guarantee, there is no trust.”

Tehran’s demand for guarantees that the United States would remain in a new deal has become a major bone of contention because Iran and world powers have been unable to negotiate a deal to replace the 2015 version, which the Trump administration backed away from in 2018 would have. The negotiations, which began almost a year and a half ago, have now practically come to a standstill.

Government negotiators have been clear from the start of the talks, which include Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China – all signatories to the original deal, along with the United States and Iran – that no US government has the power to the measures to bind his successor.

Since July, when European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, whose office coordinated the talks, sent Tehran and Washington what he called a “final text” on each successfully negotiated issue, the two capitals have exchanged two rounds of replies without each other reach agreement. No further talks are planned.

Raisi, who was elected in June 2021 and is widely seen as a hardliner, said there would be no benefit in meeting with President Biden – which the White House has expressed no interest in – if both leaders are at the UN this week -Participate in the General Assembly. “The new administration in the US claims that it is different from the Trump administration,” he said. He added, “But we haven’t seen any changes in reality.”

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Biden fought on promises that he would restore the original Iran nuclear deal, which lifted nuclear-related sanctions in exchange for harsh restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program and international monitoring and scrutiny. After backing away from what he called a “bad deal” negotiated by his predecessor Barack Obama, Trump re-imposed the lifted sanctions and added more for what he called “maximum pressure” that would cause Iran to surrender.

Instead, Iran has gone well beyond the limits imposed by the deal, increasing the quantity and quality of enriched uranium needed to build a nuclear weapon. Iran has repeatedly stated that it has no intention of developing such a weapon. Raisi said Iran’s nuclear program is for medical and agricultural purposes.

As the possibility of a new deal has become increasingly doubtful, the government has expanded the list of sanctions against Iran, while attacks on US interests in Syria and Iraq, which it believes to be the work of Iranian proxies, have increased. Iran has worked to circumvent US sanctions by exporting much of its oil to China and selling arms to Russia – including what the United States has said about armed drones being used in Ukraine.

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Raisi said Iran “will not forget” the killing of Qasem Soleimani of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in January 2020, who was killed by a US drone strike. He called it a “heinous crime” and said that “we want justice to be served”.

Last month, the Biden administration charged an Iranian national with alleged links to the Revolutionary Guard. The government accused the Iranian, who was charged in absentia, of financing an assassination attempt on Trump’s former national security adviser, John Bolton. Asked if his administration ordered Bolton’s assassination in retaliation for the murder of Soleimani, Raisi said, “This is the type of action that Americans and Zionist regimes are taking in the world. We will not take the same actions.”