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Iran's missile programme is non-negotiable, says Rouhani

FILE PHOTO: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani attends a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of a session of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council In Yerevan, Armenia October 1, 2019. Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via REUTERS reuters_tickers
This content was published on December 14, 2020 - 14:46

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday that Tehran's missile programme was non-negotiable and that U.S. President-Elect Joe Biden is "well aware of it".

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.

But Tehran has ruled out halting its missile programme or changing its regional policy, and instead has demanded a change in U.S. policy, including the lifting of sanctions and compensation for the economic damage caused during the U.S. 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.

(Reporting by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Ghaida Ghantous, William Maclean)

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