Ebrahim Raisi
Ebrahim RaisiReuters

The United States on Thursday urged Iran’s new President, Ebrahim Raisi, to return to talks on both nations resuming compliance with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

“Our message to President Raisi is the same as our message to his predecessors .. the U.S. will defend and advance our national security interests and those of our partners. We hope that Iran seizes the opportunity now to advance diplomatic solutions,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters, according to the Reuters news agency.

“We urge Iran to return to the negotiations soon so that we can seek to conclude our work,” Price added, warning that “this process cannot go on indefinitely”.

Raisi was sworn in as president of Iran on Thursday, vowing to bring an end to US sanctions on the Islamic Republic, denouncing the sanctions as “illegal”.

Iran has gradually scaled back its compliance with the 2015 deal in response to former US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement in 2018, but has been holding indirect talks with the Biden administration on a return to the agreement.

However, Iran recently paused the talks and announced they will not resume before the Raisi government takes office.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last week that nuclear talks with Iran "cannot go on indefinitely" but that Washington was "fully prepared" to continue negotiations.

"We're committed to diplomacy, but this process cannot go on indefinitely... we look to see what Iran is ready to do or not ready to do and remain fully prepared to return to Vienna to continue negotiations," he stated.

His remarks were echoed by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who said that Iran is "delaying" talks to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal and warned that the option to revive the deal would not remain open forever.