by Reuters, JPost.com Staff
Iran reacted coolly to Barack Obama's re-election on Wednesday, as the head of its judiciary condemned the "crimes" of US sanctions and indicated the president should not expect rapid new negotiations with Tehran.
"After all this pressure and crimes against the people of Iran, relations with America cannot be possible overnight and Americans should not think they can hold our nation to ransom by coming to the negotiating table," Sadeq Larijani was quoted as saying by IRNA news agency.
There had been speculation that, if Obama won a second term, the United States, which has not had diplomatic relations with Iran for three decades, might seek to engage it in direct talks. Obama wants to curb an Iranian nuclear program which he believes has a military purpose, despite Iran's denials.
Larijani recalled disappointment in Tehran after Obama first took office in 2008: "Four years ago, Obama ... announced he would extend the hand of cooperation to Iran," he said. "But he pursued a different path and imposed unprecedented sanctions and it is natural the Iranian people will never forget such crimes."
Other Iranian leaders had yet to comment.
The New York Times reported last month that Iran and the US had agreed in principle to one-on-one negotiations over the Islamic Republic's illicit nuclear program, but that the Iranians wanted the talks to wait until after the November 6 US presidential election.
Both sides were swift to deny the report, and Israel Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu also denied knowledge of the agreement.
Tommy Vietor, the White House spokesman, also denied the report.
“It’s not true that the United States and Iran have agreed to one-on-one talks or any meeting after the American elections,” he said.
Reuters, JPost.com Staff
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