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Iran ready for talks without Western ‘pressure’: President Raisi

Iran is urged to return to negotiations after the Iranian elections in June. Source: Reuters.

TEHRAN: Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has said Iran was ready to hold talks with world powers to revive its 2015 nuclear accord but not under Western “pressure”, adding Tehran was seeking negotiations leading to a lifting of US sanctions.

France and Germany have urged Iran to return to negotiations after a break in talks following Iranian elections in June, with Paris demanding an immediate restart amid Western concerns over Tehran’s expanding atomic work. read more

Last month, France, Germany and Britain voiced concern about reports from the U.N. nuclear watchdog confirming Iran has produced uranium metal enriched up to 20% fissile purity for the first time and lifted production capacity of uranium enriched to 60%. read more

Iran says its nuclear programme is peaceful, that it has informed the watchdog about its activities, and that its moves away from the 2015 deal would be reversed if the United States returned to the accord and lifted sanctions. read more

“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 told 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.

‘Addiction to sanctions’

Iran on Saturday dismissed new US sanctions on four Iranians over an alleged plot to kidnap an Iranian-American journalist, saying the move reflects Washington’s “addiction to sanctions”.

The US Treasury Department sanctioned the four, saying they were intelligence operatives behind the failed plot.

“Supporters and merchants of sanctions, who see their sanctions tool box empty due to Iran’s maximum resistance, are now resorting to Hollywood scenarios to keep the sanctions alive,” the Foreign Ministry said in a tweet, quoting spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh.

“Washington must understand that it has no choice but to abandon its addiction to sanctions and respect Iran,” he said.

The sanctions come after US prosecutors in July charged the four with plotting to kidnap a New York-based journalist who was critical of Tehran. Reuters previously confirmed she was Iranian-American journalist Masih Alinejad.

Iran at the time called the alleged plot “ridiculous and baseless.” Those sanctioned are senior Iran-based intelligence official Alireza Shahvaroghi Farahani and Iranian intelligence operatives Mahmoud Khazein, Kiya Sadeghi and Omid Noori, the Treasury Department said.

The sanctions block all property of the four in the United States or in US control, and prohibit any transactions between them and US citizens. Other non-Americans who conduct certain transactions with the four could also be subjected to US sanctions, the department said.