Iranian President Raisi warns the West against “excessive” nuclear demands

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi warned Western governments on Thursday that he would accept no “excessive demands” on nuclear negotiations resumed later this month after a five-month breach.

Diplomats on Wednesday finally announced the start date of November 29 for renewed negotiations after a lengthy delay since Raisi’s June election.

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“We will not leave the negotiating table but we will also oppose any excessive demands that would end up harming the interests of the Iranian people,” Raisi said.

“We will in no way withdraw in the interests of the Iranian people, but will continue our efforts to neutralize the repressive sanctions and take action to remove them.”

Raisi spoke at a ceremony in the city of Semnam, east of the capital, marking the anniversary of the abduction in 1979 of the US embassy in Tehran by radical students, an episode that still blurs relations.

The nuclear negotiations, which are being brokered by European mediators because Tehran refuses to deal directly with U.S. negotiators, are aimed at bringing Washington back into a 2015 deal with Iran that was abandoned by former President Donald Trump.

President Joe Biden has said he is ready to rejoin the agreement under which Iran has agreed to strict limits on its nuclear activities in exchange for aid from extensive sanctions, but the two sides remain at odds over the details.

Iran wants a lifting of all U.S. sanctions, but the Biden administration says it will only negotiate measures taken by Trump on the nuclear program, such as a unilateral ban on oil sales – not steps imposed on other concerns such as human rights.

Iran also wants commitments that the United States will remain bound by the deal – an unlikely proposal in Washington where Trump’s Republican Party fiercely opposes Biden’s diplomacy with Iran.

Washington insists Tehran must return to full compliance with the limits of its nuclear program, which it agreed to in 2015, and has repeatedly warned that the window of opportunity for a deal is quickly closing.

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