US urges Iran’s new President Ebrahim Raisi to resume nuclear talks

The US has called on Iran’s new president to return to talks on reviving a historic nuclear deal. The window for diplomacy would not remain open forever, a spokesman for the US state department warned. Tensions between the US and Iran have soared since 2018, when then-President Donald Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal and restored sanctions.

Ebrahim Raisi was sworn in on Thursday saying he would support “any diplomatic plans” to end sanctions on Iran. “All illegal US sanctions against the Iranian nation must be lifted,” he said. Western countries accuse Iran of trying to build nuclear weapons – a charge Tehran denies. The 2015 deal between Iran and six other countries – the US, UK, France, China, Russia and Germany – saw it stop some nuclear work in return for an end to sanctions hurting its economy. But Iran re-started banned nuclear work after Mr Trump pulled out of the deal. Thorny negotiations have been taking place in the Austrian capital, Vienna, between Iran and other countries which are still part of the agreement to try to revive the frayed deal and lift sanctions. However the talks have been on hold for several weeks. In comments following Mr Raisi’s inauguration, US state department spokesman Ned Price told reporters: “We urge Iran to return to the negotiations soon so that we can seek to conclude our work.”