Aaj TV

TEHRAN: Iran's President-elect Ebrahim Raisi said on Monday he will not allow nuclear negotiations for the sake of negotiations, in his first news conference since winning election last week.

Raisi also ruled out meeting US President Joe Biden but said there were "no obstacles" to resuming diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia.

Raisi will replace President Hassan Rouhani -- whose landmark achievement was a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers -- in August.

"Any negotiations that guarantee national interests will certainly be supported, but... we will not allow negotiations to be for negotiations' sake," Raisi said of the nuclear talks.

"Any meeting must produce a result... for the Iranian nation," he added.

The 2015 deal saw Iran accept curbs on its nuclear capabilities in return for an easing of sanctions, but former US president Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew three years later and ramped up sanctions, prompting the Islamic republic to pull back from its nuclear commitments.

Trump's successor Biden has signalled his readiness to return to the deal and state parties -- also including Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia -- have lately been negotiating its revival in Vienna.

EU negotiator Enrique Mora said on Sunday that those involved in the talks were "closer" to saving the Iran nuclear deal but that sticking points remain.

   **- 'No' to Biden meet -**

Raisi, in a press conference on Monday, said he has no intentions of meeting Biden.

"No," was his flat response to a question from an American media outlet on whether he would meet in the event the talks lead to the US lifting sanctions on Iran, and to try and "fix" the issues between the two arch enemies.

Raisi also said his administration would be open to restoring ties with Iran's regional foe Saudi Arabia.

"There are no obstacles from Iran's side to re-opening embassies... there are no obstacles to ties with Saudi Arabia," he said.

The two sides are reported to have been engaged in talks hosted by Baghdad since April to improve relations.

Raisi, who is subject to US sanctions imposed over the executions of political prisoners in 1988, has in the past denied he played a role in the killings.

   **- 'Always defending human rights' -**

At Monday's news conference, Raisi said he has "always" defended human rights.

"All that I have done through my years of service has always been towards defending human rights," said the Iranian president-elect, while accusing the west of violating human rights.

Raisi is seen as close to the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who holds ultimate political power in Iran.

His victory had been widely anticipated after the Guardian Council had approved just seven candidates, all men, out of a field of almost 600 hopefuls.

Three of those vetted candidates dropped out two days before the vote.

Raisi said there was a "massive" voter turnout in Friday's election.

"This meaningful presence of the people, their massive presence, came about despite the coronavirus situation, despite the many enmities and psychological warfare of the Iranian nation's enemies," he said.