Iran’s New President Vows Not to Allow Country's Economy to Be ‘Tied to the Will of Foreigners’
10:08 GMT 03.08.2021 (Updated: 10:16 GMT 03.08.2021)
Iranians went to the polls on 18 June to pick a new president. Ebrahim Raisi, Iran’s chief justice, won in a landslide, taking over 72 percent of the vote. He formally assumed office on Tuesday.
Newly-inaugurated Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has promised to work to lift Washington’s “oppressive” sanctions, but warned that Iran would not pursue an agreement with the US on the matter at any cost.
“We will certainly seek the lifting of oppressive sanctions, but we will not condition the people’s livelihood and the economy [on the sanctions] and will not tie them to the will of foreigners,” Raisi said in his inauguration speech alongside Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Tuesday.
Focusing his remarks largely on domestic policy and the economy, and not mentioning the US or Iran’s other major adversary – Israel, by name, Raisi suggested that the country needs to focus on issues such as the budget deficit, capital market stability, inflation, the coronavirus, and ensuring the supply of water and electricity to regions recently hit by shortages and crises.
The president called on all Iranians, including “intellectuals, thinkers, officials, concerned people and loved ones,” to work to help bring about the necessary changes.
© AP PhotoIn this photo released by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, newly elected President Ebrahim Raisi, right, speaks after receiving official seal of approval of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, left, in an endorsement ceremony in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021.
In this photo released by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, newly elected President Ebrahim Raisi, right, speaks after receiving official seal of approval of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, left, in an endorsement ceremony in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021.
© AP Photo
Stalled Nuclear Talks
The United States reimposed crushing sanctions against Iran’s energy and banking sectors in 2018 after unilaterally abrogating the 2015 nuclear deal, and threatened secondary restrictions against any nation, entity and foreign person who does business with the country.
After coming into office in January 2021, the Biden administration promised to seek to rapidly return the US to the nuclear deal. However, Iranian and US officials were soon bogged down in a dispute over which side should make concessions first. Iran argues that the US, as the country which breached the nuclear deal in the first place, must lift its unilateral sanctions as a sign of goodwill. Washington is demanding that Tehran dramatically reduce its uranium enrichment and stockpiling activities before sanctions can be lifted.
Iran and the US began indirect talks in Vienna in the spring, agreeing in principle to the need to lift over 1,000 US sanctions levied against Iran during the Trump administration.
But the negotiations have stalled, in part due to complications stemming from the position of the US’s Israeli allies, who have repeatedly threatened to carry out military strikes against Iran and its alleged military nuclear programme if the nuclear deal is reactivated. Iran has long denied any intention to pursue nuclear weapons.
Last week, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blasted the “obstinate stance” of US negotiators in Vienna, indicating that the US side wants to include a sentence in the agreement that would serve as “an excuse for their next meddlings with the deal itself – missiles and regional issues.”
Despite repeated urgings by the US and its European allies, Iran has categorically refused to discuss its conventional missile programme. At the same time, the country has rejected attempts to tie nuclear negotiations to its regional policies, including support for anti-terrorist militias and other forces in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere.
The US side too has refused to budge. Last Thursday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken suggested that the “ball remains in Iran’s court” as far as the Vienna negotiations go and that the US side has “clearly demonstrated our good faith.”
The sixth round of the Vienna negotiations wrapped up on 20 June. Tehran has indicated that the negotiations should resume after Raisi’s inauguration.