Middle East/North Africa

New Iranian president calls for resumption of nuclear talks in UN speech

Recently elected Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi called for a resumption in nuclear talks in a pre-recorded address given at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.

"The Islamic Republic considers the useful talks whose ultimate outcome is the lifting of all oppressive sanctions," Raisi said, as Reuters reported.

Nuclear talks among Tehran negotiators and world powers in Vienna adjourned in June. The U.S. has so far not reengaged directly with the negotiations, instead participating indirectly through allies.

Washington wants Tehran to reenter into the terms of the deal before moving forward, but the Iranians counter that U.S. sanctions must be lifted before they will be willing to return to the Obama-era accord.

Raisi won the Iranian presidential election shortly the talks were adjourned.

The state of ongoing negotiations was left up in the air following his election. The new Iranian president is known for being an ardent critic of the West and has been sanctioned by the U.S. for alleged human right abuses when he was a judge.

Earlier this month, Raisi had indicated that Iran was prepared to rejoin nuclear negotiations.

"The Westerners and the Americans are after talks together with pressure ... What kind of talks is that? I have already announced that we will have talks on our government's agenda but not with ... pressure," Raisi on state television.

"Talks are on the agenda ... We are seeking goal-oriented negotiations ... so unjust sanctions on the Iranian people are lifted ... and their lives can flourish," he added.

When reached for comment by The Washington Post, a State Department official said the U.S. does not "have a timetable" on rejoining negotiations, but added that "our position is that we're ready to go back."

However, the State official warned that eventually restarting negotiations "won't be possible any more, because their nuclear advances will become irreversible, and it simply will not be feasible to go back the deal."

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