Iranian hard-liner President-Elect Ebrahim Raisi said during his first television interview that he will not meet with U.S. President Joe Biden, that Iran will continue to support the terrorist group Hezbollah and the Yemeni Houthi rebels, and will not negotiate over the country’s ballistic missile program, a program that was banned under previous agreements and U.N. Security Council resolutions. Raisi also called himself a “defender of human rights” when asked about his involvement in the 1988 mass execution of political prisoners, homosexuals and suspected traitors, in which he sat on the prosecution’s panel. Ebrahim Raisi is the Judiciary chief in Iran and is the first Iranian president-elect to enter office with existing U.S. sanctions against him personally.
Raisi said that in addition to not being willing to meet Biden for talks about returning to the nuclear deal which would force Iran to stop enriching uranium, “the U.S. is obliged to lift all oppressive sanctions against Iran.” Iran has openly violated the terms of the nuclear deal which limited its nuclear enrichment to 2% by enriching uranium to 20% before the U.S. pulled out of the deal under former President Trump in 2018. Since then, Iran continued enriching uranium, now to 60% and openly developed and tested ballistic missiles, something it had previously been banned from doing under U.N. Security Council resolutions because of its missile development for the terrorist group Hezbollah in Lebanon which used those missiles to attack Israel.
Iran’s recent election saw just 34% of eligible voters turn out as many stayed home to protest Iran disqualifying what many believed was Raisi’s best competitor. Of those that did vote, a record 3.7 million ballots were voided by voters who say they did not want any of the candidates that Iran’s Ayatollah have approved to be on the ballot.