White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that US President Joe Biden has no intention to meet with newly elected Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.
“We don’t have any plans to meet at the leader level so it’s unclear that anything has changed on that front,” Psaki told reporters during a briefing at the White House.
Raisi, a hardline judiciary chief seen as a protégé of Iran’s supreme leader, was elected on Friday after winning nearly 62 percent of the votes cast. In his first press conference on Monday, Raisi said he would not meet Biden, answering the question of whether he would with a simple: “No.”
“The president’s view and our view is that the decision-maker here is the supreme leader,” Psaki said. “That was the case before the election, is the case today, probably will be the case moving forward.”
Raisi will become the first serving Iranian president sanctioned by the US government even before entering office, in part over his time as the head of Iran’s internationally criticized judiciary — one of the world’s top executioners.
“The new president will of course be held accountable for violations of human rights on his watch going forward,” said Psaki on Monday. She said that the US intends to continue negotiations on returning to the Iranian nuclear deal that have been ongoing for months in Vienna.
“We are going to continue to work to move these diplomatic negotiations forward because it’s in the interest of the United States and the interests of our national security,” she said.
Psaki said progress is being made in the negotiations, but no final agreement has been reached.
“What’s in the interest of the United States is having that return to visibility, that return to an understanding of what their capabilities are, how close they are to acquiring a nuclear weapon,” Psaki said. “We’re not quite there yet.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.