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Iran President Rules Out Meeting With Biden, Saying It Won’t Be Beneficial

Iran’s president, Ebrahim Raisi, has ruled out a meeting with Joe Biden on the margins of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) this week, saying he saw no “changes in reality” from the Trump administration.

Raisi underlined the firm position of his government and dampened hopes that a week of summitry at UNGA in New York might yield any progress in negotiations to revive the 2015 nuclear deal. Washington has rejected the latest Iranian bargaining positive as “not constructive”, and most observers believe there will be no breakthroughs at least until after the US congressional elections in November.

Asked on the CBS 60 Minutes news programme whenever he would be ready to meet Biden in New York, Raisi replied: “No. I don’t think that such a meeting would happen. I don’t believe having a meeting or a talk with him will be beneficial.”

Raisi and Biden are both expected to address UNGA on Wednesday morning.

On comparisons between the Biden administration, which has reentered talks on restoring the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Programme of Action (JCPOA) and the Trump White House, which withdrew the US from the deal in 2018, triggering its subsequent unraveling, Raisi was blunt.

“The new administration in the US, they claim that they are different from the Trump’s administration. They have said it in their messages to us. But we haven’t witnessed any changes in reality,” he said, in an interview due to be broadcast on Sunday evening.

Efforts to restore the JCPOA, by which Iran severely restricted its nuclear programme in return for sanctions relief, have stalled in part because Iran is seeking guarantees that any agreement is not reversed by Biden’s successor, which could be Trump himself.

Raisi will arrive in New York in a week the regime’s human rights record is under particular scrutiny. Thirty Iranians have been injured, some seriously, in protests after the death of Mahsa Amini a 22-year-old Kurdish woman three days after she was arrested and reportedly beaten by morality police in Tehran.

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