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Raisi: No Benefit from Negotiating with Biden in New York


Asharq Al-Awsat


Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Sunday ruled out a meeting with his US counterpart Joe Biden, before heading to New York to participate at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) this week.
“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 said in an interview with CBS when asked whether he was open to a meeting with Biden.
Addressing the difference between the Trump and Biden administrations, the Iranian president said although the new administration claims it is different from the Trump administration, it hasn't witnessed any changes in reality.
Raisi is attending the 77th session of the UN General Assembly for the first time in person. Last year, he addressed the event via video conference.
Last week, Raisi was in the Silk Road oasis of Samarkand, Uzbekistan to attend a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
From there, the Iranian president said that thwarting "draconian" US sanctions required new solutions, asserting that an expanding central Asian security organization could help defy Washington's unilateralism.
The official IRNA news agency had also said Raisi held an important meeting with Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who expressed his satisfaction with the set of measures taken and wished success to the president on the eve of his trip to New York.
Raisi’s trip also comes after a group of Iranian dissidents and former detainees said on Thursday that they were activating a federal civil case in the Southern District of New York against the Iranian president for his previous role at the Iranian judicial apparatus.
US Congressmen and officials from the Trump administration called on the Biden administration to prevent Iran's president from entering the United States to attend UN proceedings.
Meanwhile, US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman told The Washington Post on Saturday that the nuclear talks with Iran seem to have reached a stalemate again.
But she said Biden will continue to look for ways to move forward as long as the US administration believes that it makes sense to do so.
“We are planning for any eventuality. Whether the deal happens or the deal doesn't happen, the president still believes it is in our interest to pursue the deal, and we’ll continue to do so as long as that is the case,” she stressed.
Sherman then said that there is an ongoing effort, with great determination and an enormous focus to bring US prisoners home.
In response, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani in an exclusive interview with ISNA News Agency declared that independently of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran was ready to exchange prisoners with the US.
He said a series of negotiations had been held with Washington through different channels, and that the two sides reached the required agreements. “It is now up to the US administration to decide whether it wants to implement this agreement or not. We are prepared to enforce it,” Kanaani said.
The spokesperson rejected claims that Russia was playing an obstructive role in talks on restoration of the Iran deal, accusing the US of being the main party that is required to shoulder its responsibilities and help the negotiations bear fruit.

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