President-elect Ebrahim Raisi said on Monday Iran’s foreign policy will not be limited by its 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers, holding his first news conference since winning Friday’s election.
Raisi, 60, a hardliner and strident critic of the West, will take over from pragmatist Hassan Rouhani in August as Iran seeks to salvage the tattered nuclear deal and be rid of punishing U.S. sanctions that have induced a sharp economic downturn.
“Our foreign policy will not be limited to the nuclear deal,” Raisi said in Tehran. “We will have interaction with the world. We will not tie the Iranian people’s interests to the nuclear deal.”
Iranian and Western officials alike say Raisi’s rise is unlikely to alter Iran’s negotiating stance in talks to revive the nuclear deal – Iran’s hardline Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei already has the final say on all major policy.
Raisi also said the United States had violated the deal and the European Union had failed to fulfill its commitments.
“I urge the United States to return to its commitment to the deal…All sanctions imposed on Iran must be lifted and verified by Tehran,” he said.