Iran’s incoming President Ebrahim Raisi vowed on Tuesday that he would work to get “cruel” US sanctions lifted.
“We will certainly be after lifting cruel sanctions, but we will certainly not make the people’s livelihoods and the economy conditioned, and won’t tie it to the will of foreigners,” Raisi said during a ceremony where Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei formally endorsed him to serve as the country’s eighth president.
Raisi’s comments signal that he is ready to resume indirect negotiations with the US to revive the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA. While he is viewed as a hardliner, Raisi favors a revival of the agreement if the US returns to its commitments and lifts sanctions. After he won the June presidential election, Raisi said he would pursue talks with the JCPOA parties and endorsed the deal.
The JCPOA talks started in April, and the last round concluded on June 20th. The US and its Western partners are blaming Iran for the lack of progress, but the negotiations have been dragged out due to the Biden administration’s refusal to lift all Trump-era sanctions and demands for additional concessions from Iran.
The government of Iran’s outgoing President Hassan Rouhani has said the US had agreed to lift most major sanctions on Iran. But last week, Khamenei said the US was not willing to provide guarantees for sanctions relief or a guarantee that Washington wouldn’t withdraw from the agreement again, like it did in 2018. He also said the US wants to add a sentence to the JCPOA that says it requires the US and Iran to negotiate other issues, like Iran’s ballistic missile program.