Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi attends the Shanghai Cooperation Organization leaders' summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on September 16, 2022

Iranian President Demands U.S. ‘Guarantees’ on Nuclear Deal

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Leaders’ Summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, September 16, 2022 – Copyright AFP Yuichi YAMAZAKI

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has demanded “guarantees” from the US that they will not back out of the nuclear deal if it is renewed ahead of his debut visit to the UN.

As Western hopes of restoring a landmark 2015 deal with world powers dwindle, the hard-line cleric told US television he would continue to support “a good and fair deal.”

But he said, “It has to be durable. There must be guarantees.”

“We cannot trust the Americans because of the behavior we have already seen from them. That’s why if there’s no guarantee, there’s no trust,” he told CBS News’ 60 Minutes.

Former President Barack Obama negotiated an agreement under which Iran would drastically cut its nuclear work in exchange for promises to ease sanctions.

Three years later, Donald Trump lifted the sanctions and re-imposed broad sanctions. President Joe Biden supports a return, but Iran’s call for guarantees has become a sticking point as the Democratic administration says it’s impossible to tell in the US system what a future president will do.

But Raisi said Trump’s departure showed that US promises were “meaningless.”

The parties to the 2015 agreement, which also included Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia, saw it as the best way to stop the Islamic Republic from building a nuclear bomb, a goal that Tehran has always denied.

Last year, Raisi replaced Hassan Rouhani, a relatively moderate man who spoke to Obama on the phone during a visit to New York for the United Nations.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told AFP last week that talks to bring Iran back into the deal stalled after the parties’ proposals “converged.”

In early August, a senior European Union official said progress was being made on removing obstacles, including assurances that the US would not derail the deal again.

Three days later, Borrell presented the “final” text of the agreement.

Earlier this month, a report by the United Nations nuclear watchdog that it failed to certify Iran’s nuclear program as “solely peaceful” complicated diplomatic efforts to restart the deal.

Iran is adhering to a demand that, in order to restart the 2015 deal, the International Atomic Energy Agency completes an investigation launched after the agency found traces of nuclear materials at three undeclared sites.

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