Following intense international pressure on Iran during the 76th session of the UN General Assembly in New York, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi told Britain’s ambassador that such an approach “will not subdue Tehran.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said that the final decision to resume the Vienna nuclear talks was linked to “practical behavior” from the US, not diplomatic and media messages.
Raisi held separate talks with the new British ambassador, Simon Shercliff, and new Austrian Ambassador Wolf Dietrich Heim, who presented their credentials on Sunday.
The president addressed Western pressure and sanctions, without referring directly to the Vienna talks.
While he expressed Tehran’s readiness for trade and economic cooperation with Austria and other countries, Raisi noted that the sanctions were “unfounded”, citing several reports from the International Atomic Energy Agency about Iran’s “peaceful” activities.
“Iran is fully prepared to develop trade and economic cooperation with Austria and other countries, and obstacles will never stop us,” he stated.
He did not directly point to the nuclear deal, but said: “The Iranian people will respond when they feel that other countries are arrogant.” The people “don’t kneel,” suggesting “mutual respect” as “the best way” for work and cooperation.
The meeting comes after high-level discussions between British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Amir-Abdollahian on the sidelines of the General Assembly.
Britain underlined the need to revive the nuclear agreement and touched on the file of British detainees held in Tehran, especially Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a relief worker with the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Hours after the meeting, Truss posted a tweet, marking the 200 days since her arrest, vowing to pressure Iran for her release.
Her US counterpart, Antony Blinken, also condemned the arbitrary arrest of dual American-Iranian nationals, tweeting: “People are not bargaining chips.”
Meanwhile, British Secretary of State for the Middle East and North Africa James Cleverly confirmed, in an exclusive interview with the Kuwait news agency (KUNA), that Truss has clearly informed her Iranian counterpart that Britain opposes Iran’s acquiring of nuclear weapons.
Cleverly also expressed “Britain’s readiness to work with the Iranians to show them that ensuring their future does not come from acquiring nuclear weapons.”
He added that his country would deal with the Iranians “if they demonstrate their commitment to peace and non-interference in the internal affairs of the countries of the region.”