Ultra-conservative Ebrahim Raisi: Iran’s new president sworn in

Ebrahim Raisi is the new President of Iran. In a ceremony broadcast on state television, the spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei introduced the 60 year-old into his new office. Raisi was previously the head of justice. Khamenei is the head of state and military commander-in-chief of the Islamic Republic as well as the highest spiritual authority. According to the constitution, he has the last word and a right of veto in all strategic matters.

Raisi ( read a portrait here ) announced in his speech that his government would endeavor to lift the US sanctions imposed on his country. But he does not expect other countries to help improve the situation. “We will certainly try to lift the repressive sanctions, but we will not tie the living conditions of the country to the will of foreigners,” said Raisi. The outgoing President Hassan Rohani also took part in the ceremony in Tehran.

Raisi’s major challenges include reviving the economy, which has been badly shaken by the US sanctions and the corona pandemic, as well as talks about a new version of the international agreement on the Iranian nuclear program. It is expected that Raisi will primarily want to strengthen relations with neighboring countries as well as with Russia and China.

The USA as well as Germany had criticized Raisi’s election in June as undemocratic. According to official information, Raisi emerged from the vote as the winner with 62 percent of the votes. The turnout was given as 48, 8 percent. The opposition People’s Mujahideen, on the other hand, estimate the turnout at only ten percent. As evidence for this, they conducted 1200 witness interviews in 400 Iranian cities and 3500 Video clips from election offices.

Raisi is said to have been responsible for numerous arrests and even executions of political dissidents in his previous role as public prosecutor.