Iran’s president-elect appeared nervous at the start of his comments but appeared more composed during the hour-long news conference. When asked about his involvement in the mass execution of nearly 5,000 people in 1988, he described himself as a defender of human rights. Rouhani sat in front of a sea of microphones belonging to most Iranian militias backed by Tehran.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – Iran’s President-elect took a tough stance in his first comments since his landslide victory on Monday and rejected the possibility of meeting President Joe Biden to discuss Tehran’s missile program and support for regional militias. Hassan Rouhani stuck to his hard line on key issues in his first press conference since his landslide presidential victory last week. He looked nervous at the start of his remarks but slowly calmed down during the hour-long press conference.
New President-elect Ebrahim Raisi said Monday in Iran that he was not ready to meet with President Joe Biden, the AP news agency reports. It was the first time Chief Justice Ebrahim Raisi was seen live on television, a dark moment in Iran’s history since the end of the Iran-Iraq war. He sat in front of a sea of microphones from Iran, a country with militias supporting Tehran.
Raisi’s election brings hardliners into government as negotiations in Vienna continue to try to salvage a shattered deal aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program. Top diplomats on Sunday reported progress in talks in Vienna, where they are trying to restore Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. A top diplomat from a nation involved in Sunday’s latest round of negotiations said that further progress was made Sunday as Iran and world powers attempted to restore a landmark 2015 agreement to stop Iran’s nuclear development that was abandoned by the Trump administration.
Raisi’s election puts hard-liners throughout the government firmly in control, while negotiations in Vienna continue to try to salvage a shattered deal aimed at limiting Iran’s nuclear program at a time when Tehran is enriching uranium to 60% of its highest level, well below weapons levels. US President Donald Trump pulled out of the shattered nuclear deal in 2018, triggering months of tensions in the region. In response, Iran has abandoned the limits of the agreement and enriched uranium to around 60%, well above its maximum levels but below the level of weapons capability.
Raisi’s victory has raised fears that it could complicate a possible return to the nuclear deal. Since the deal collapsed, Rouhani and his moderate allies have seen their popularity plummet.