Iran will not negotiate with the United States over its ballistic missile programs or regional militia forces, its conservative president-elect, Ebrahim Raisi, said on Monday.
In his first news conference as president-elect, Mr. Raisi said he would not meet with President Biden and he called for the United States to comply with a 2015 agreement that limited Iran’s nuclear program in return for lifting economic sanctions.
“We emphasize that the U.S. government should be sincere toward its commitments while noting that the regional and missile issues are not negotiable,” he said in a briefing with domestic and international reporters in Tehran on Monday, according to the official Iranian IRNA news service.
The comments come as the United States and Iran hold talks through intermediaries in Vienna about reviving the 2015 agreement. Mr. Biden has promised to seek a return to the deal, which would remove about 1,600 sanctions imposed on Iran after the Trump administration withdrew from the accord in 2018, calling it too weak.
Mr. Raisi’s pledge to refuse to negotiate any issues outside the 2015 nuclear agreement was not a surprise, echoing positions he took as a candidate, as well as that of the current government.
The United States is also dealing with a quickly developing threat from Iranian proxies in Iraq, where militia forces have used weapons such as armed drones to attack American targets.
Mr. Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran had failed, Mr. Raisi said on Monday, according to the Iranian state-controlled broadcaster Press TV.
A negotiating team involved in the indirect talks in Vienna would continue those talks until his administration took its place, he said. He added that he supported discussions that secured Iran’s national interests, but “we will not allow talks for the sake of talks.”
An ultraconservative judiciary chief seen as a potential successor to the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Mr. Raisi has been accused of human rights abuses, including involvement in a mass execution of opponents of the government in 1988. That record has brought him sanctions from both the United States and the European Union.
But on Monday, he called himself a “defender of human rights and of people’s security and comfort,” adding he would continue in that role as president.
Iran’s nuclear power plant, in Bushehr, was temporarily shut down over the weekend, with officials chalking it up to “technical fault” and telling Iranians that the shutdown, which began on Saturday, would last for “a few days,” according to state media.