West has failed to isolate Iran, says Raisi

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Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi said on Tuesday that the West had failed to isolate his country, while also holding out the prospect of resuming talks on reviving a nuclear deal.

“The enemy tried to follow two strategies: one was to isolate Iran from the world and the other was to discourage the Iranian nation,” Raisi said.

“It failed with both strategies. It didn’t succeed in isolating Iran,” he told a news conference in Tehran.

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Raisi was referring to sanctions imposed on Iran since the United States torpedoed the nuclear deal in 2018, as well as protests that erupted in September 2022 over a young woman’s death in custody.

The ultraconservative president said Iran was continuing to seek “the lifting of sanctions” through negotiations to revive the 2015 nuclear accord.

But he added “we are not tying the country’s economy to the wishes” of Western countries.

Tensions between Tehran and Washington eased this month with the announcement of an agreement for Iran to release five American prisoners in exchange for the return of $6 billion in Iranian funds frozen in South Korea.

But the delicate agreement does not include the possibility of a return to the nuclear deal in the run-up to the 2024 US presidential election.

Raisi highlighted diplomatic successes, including rapprochement with Arab countries like Saudi Arabia along with its membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and invitation to join the BRICS grouping.

Such alliances with emerging countries “represent a good opportunity to counter American unilateralism,” he said, adding his government was working “to reduce the influence of the dollar” on Iran’s economy.

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