Conservative Ebrahim Raisi wins Iran’s presidential election

Conservative candidate Ebrahim Raisi has won Iran’s presidential election by a landslide, according to the final results by the Interior Ministry.

Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani-Fazli said out of a total of 28,933,004 votes cast in the presidential election, Raisi garnered over 17.9 million votes, followed by Mohsen Rezaei who secured 3.4 million.

Nasser Hemmati garnered 2.4 million votes, and Amir-Hossein Ghazizadeh-Hashemi won almost one million votes.

The turnout was 48% – the lowest in Iranian history since the 1979 revolution.

Raisi pledged all-out efforts to resolve the country’s problems, especially those affecting the people’s livelihoods.

Raisi is associated with the conservative Principlist camp and campaigned with the slogan “Popular Administration, Strong Iran” on a platform of uprooting corruption in the executive branch, fighting poverty, creating jobs, containing inflation, and corruption.

Raisi’s election marks a consolidation of power by the conservative camp, which already controls the parliament and will likely have a replacement for the judiciary as well.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Editorial credit: Attila JANDI

The scholar is also seen by many as the country’s next supreme leader.

Raisi is also the first Iranian president to be sanctioned by the United States. The U.S. blacklisted him for his role in the execution of prisoners in 1988, his involvement in the crackdown on the 2009 Green Movement protests, and “administration of oversight over the executions of individuals who were juveniles at the time of their crime.”

Raisi grew up in the northeastern city of Mashhad. He attended the seminary in Qom and studied under some of Iran’s most prominent Muslim scholars, including Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

After becoming the prosecutor for several jurisdictions, Raisi moved to the capital, Tehran, in 1985 after being appointed deputy prosecutor.

After moving up the ranks in the judicial system, in March 2016 he was appointed by the leader as the custodian of the Astan-e Quds Razavi, the influential shrine of Imam Reza.

He ran for president unsuccessfully against Rouhani in 2017, garnering 38 percent of the vote.

Raisi has promised to improve Iran’s economy that is ailing under U.S. sanctions and the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite previously opposing Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, Raisi said during the presidential debates earlier this month that he will uphold the accord as any other state commitment.

World reaction

Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Raisi and expressed hopes for “further development of a constructive bilateral cooperation,” according to RIA news agency citing a press officer at the Russian embassy in Tehran.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said he looked forward to working with Raisi towards “further strengthening” of fraternal ties between Pakistan and Iran for “regional peace, progress and prosperity.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan congratulated Raisi on his victory, saying he believed cooperation between the two neighbours would become stronger during Raisi’s term.

“Stating my belief that cooperation between our two countries will strengthen during your presidency, I am ready to work together with you,” Erdogan said in a letter sent to Raisi.

Syrian leader Bahar al Assad congratulated Raisi on his victory and said he was keen to work with the new president to strengthen ties between the two countries, a statement from the Syrian presidency said.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Editorial credit: Siarhei Liudkevich / Shutterstock.com

“I extend my sincere congratulations and blessings on the occasion of your [Raisi’s] election as President of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Iraq’s President Barham Salih said. “We in Iraq look forward to strengthening our solid relations with our neighbour Iran and its people.”

“We congratulate the Islamic Republic of Iran for the success of the democratic process, the holding of the presidential election and the victory of Ebrahim Raisi as Iran’s president,” Hazem Qassem, Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said in a statement.

“We wish the Islamic Republic of Iran progress and prosperity. Iran has always been a fundamental and a real supporter of the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian resistance.”

“We wish for the Islamic Republic, and for our bilateral relations, stability, continuity and prosperity,” Vice-President and de facto Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid said in a statement tweeted by Dubai’s media office.

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed also sent a message of congratulations to Raisi, state news agency WAM reported.

On the other hand, Israel condemned Raisi, saying he was Iran’s “most extremist president to date.”

“The butcher of Tehran, Ebrahim Raisi, has been rightly denounced by the international community for his direct role in the extrajudicial executions of over 30,000 people,” Lior Haiat, Israeli foreign ministry spokesman, said in a statement.

“An extremist figure, committed to Iran’s rapidly advancing military nuclear programme, his election makes clear Iran’s true malign intentions, and should prompt grave concern among the international community.”

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