Iran’s Raisi calls for effective nuclear talks, rules out Biden meet

Iran's President-elect Ebrahim Raisi said on June 21 he will not allow nuclear negotiations for the sake of negotiations, in his first news conference since winning election last week.

Raisi also ruled out meeting U.S. President Joe Biden but said there were "no obstacles" to resuming diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia, the Sunni-ruled regional rival of Shiite Iran, which have been severed for five years.

Raisi, 60, won Friday's election in which more than half the voters stayed away after many political heavyweights had been barred from running and as an economic crisis driven by U.S. sanctions has battered the country.

Raisi, an ultraconservative cleric who heads Iran's judiciary, will replace moderate President Hassan Rouhani - whose landmark achievement was a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers - in August.

"Any negotiations that guarantee national interests will certainly be supported, but... we will not allow negotiations to be for negotiations' sake," Raisi said of the nuclear talks.

"Any meeting must produce a result... for the Iranian nation," he added.

The 2015 deal saw Iran accept curbs on its nuclear capabilities in return for an easing of sanctions, but former U.S. President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew three years later and ramped up sanctions, prompting the Islamic republic to pull back from its nuclear commitments.

Trump's successor Biden has signalled his readiness to return to the deal and state parties - also including Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia - have lately been negotiating its revival in Vienna.

The European Union's top diplomat Josep Borrell said on June 20 that there was "no reason to believe" that Raisi's government would take "a different...

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