Iran”s new president, Ebrahim Raisi, said that the country is not willing to negotiate about its ballistic missile programme during his first press conference in Tehran.
Raisi, a conservative hardliner who was elected president last week, also said that Iran’s support for regional Shia militias in countries such as Iraq was also non-negotiable.
His comments call into question the ability of the U.S. and the EU to bring Iran back to the 2015 nuclear deal, which was inked by former president Barack Obama and five European nations but torn up by former president Donald Trump as one of his first acts after his 2016 election.
In the five years since then, Iranian politics has drifted back to the country’s conservatives and religious authorities after a period of relative openness under former president Hassan Rouhani.
Raisi, when asked about possibly meeting Biden, simply said: “No.”
Raisi’s moderate competitor in the recent election, Abdolnasser Hemmati, said he’d be willing to potentially meet Biden.
He called himself “a defender of human rights” after being asked directly about his involvement in the 1988 mass executions of some 5,000 people. Raisi was part of a so-called “death panel” that sentenced political prisoners to death at the end of the 1980s Iran-Iraq war.
Raisi made the comments Monday in a news conference with journalists, his first since winning Friday’s election in a landslide.