Unclear if Iran’s election will change nuclear talks, Biden adviser says

Ebrahim Raisi will be Iran's next president.

Unclear if Iran’s election will change nuclear talks, Biden adviser says

U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Sunday that it was too soon to tell if the election of a new president in Iran would lead to a change for better or worse in nuclear talks with the Islamic state.

Speaking Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” Sullivan said, “It’s hard to speculate about the internal dynamics in Iran on a question like that. What I would say is the ultimate decision for whether or not to go back into the deal lies with Iran’s supreme leader. He was the same person before this election as he is after the election.”

Ebrahim Raisi, the hard-line chief of Iran’s judiciary, scored a decisive victory in its presidential election held Friday, though turnout was lower than usual, apparently because of widespread apathy and dissatisfaction with the limited ballot choices permitted by supreme leader Ali Khamenei and his Guardian Council.

The election came amid continued talks in Vienna designed to bring the United States back into the international agreement reached during the Obama years that was intended to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Iran, for its part, wants a deal that will lead to a lifting of crippling economic sanctions.

“The whole question of which sanctions will be lifted is currently being negotiated in Vienna,” Sullivan told host George Stephanopoulos.

“What I will say is that the United States retains the right even under the JCPOA, even under the Iran nuclear deal, to impose sanctions for reasons other than the nuclear file, for terrorism, for human rights, for missile development,” he said.

Sullivan said the key is to remain focused on the ultimate goal.

“I think what we need to do in the United States is keep our eye on the ball. And that is our paramount priority right now is to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon,” he said.