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Biden knows that Iran’s missile program is non-negotiable, says Rouhani

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday that Tehran’s missile program was non-negotiable and that US President-Elect Joe Biden is “well aware of it.”

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Biden’s victory has raised the possibility that Washington could rejoin a deal Iran reached with world powers in 2015, and he appears to see a return as a prelude to wider talks on Iran’s nuclear work, its ballistic missiles and regional activities.

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But Tehran has ruled out halting its missile program or changing its regional policy, and instead has demanded a change in US policy, including the lifting of sanctions and compensation for the economic damage caused during the US withdrawal from the nuclear accord.

“The Americans were trying for months to add the missile issue (to the nuclear talks) and this was rejected.... And Mr Biden knows this well,” Rouhani told a televised news conference.

Tensions between Washington and Tehran have risen since 2018, when President Donald Trump abandoned the nuclear deal, and restored harsh economic sanctions to pressure Tehran into negotiating stricter curbs on its nuclear program, ballistic missile development and support for regional proxy forces.