Ultraconservative Ebrahim Raisi was inaugurated on Tuesday as president of Iran, a rustic whose hopes of shaking off a dire depression depend on reviving nuclear effect world power.
“Following the people’s choice, I task the wise, indefatigable, experienced and popular Hojatoleslam Ebrahim Raisi as president of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the country’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wrote during a decree read out by his chief of staff.
Raisi replaces moderate president Hassan Rouhani, whose landmark achievement was the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and 6 world powers.
From the outset, Raisi will need to tackle negotiations aimed toward reviving the nuclear deal from which the US unilaterally withdrew imposing sweeping sanctions.
The 60-year-old also faces warnings to Iran from us, Britain, and Israel over a deadly tanker attack last week that Tehran denies responsibility.
Raisi, in his inauguration speech, said the new government would seek to lift “oppressive” US sanctions, but would “not tie the nation’s standard of living to the desire of foreigners”.
“We believe the people’s economic position is unfavorable both due to the hostility of our enemies and since of the shortcomings and problems inside the country,” he said.
In his response, Khamenei acknowledged Iran suffered from “many shortcomings and problems”, but quickly added: “The country’s capabilities are even more numerous.
“Fixing economic problems takes time and can’t be done overnight,” he said.
Raisi won a presidential election in June during which quite half the electorate stayed away after many heavyweights were barred from standing.
A former judiciary chief, he has been criticised by the West for his human rights record.
Tuesday’s ceremony marked Raisi’s formal accession to office. He will next be sworn in before parliament on Thursday when he’s to submit his proposed government line-up.
Raisi’s presidency will consolidate power within the hands of conservatives following their 2020 parliamentary election victory, marked by the disqualification of thousands of reformist or moderate candidates.
Iran’s economic woes, exacerbated by US sanctions, are going to be the new president’s top challenge, said Clement Therme, a researcher at the ecu University Institute in Italy.
“His main objective are going to be to enhance the economic situation by reinforcing the Islamic republic’s economic relations with neighbouring countries” et al. like Russia and China, Therme said.
The 2015 deal saw Iran accept curbs on its nuclear capabilities reciprocally for an easing of sanctions.
But then US president Donald Trump withdrew from the accord three years later and ramped up sanctions again, prompting Tehran to tug back from most of its nuclear commitments.
Trump’s successor Joe Biden has signalled his readiness to return to the deal and engaged in indirect negotiations with Iran alongside formal talks with the accord’s remaining parties — Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.
The US sanctions have choked Iran and its vital oil exports, and therefore the economy contracted by quite six percent in both 2018 and 2019.
In the winter of 2017-2018, and again in 2019, street protests sparked by the depression rocked the country. And last month, demonstrators in oil-rich Khuzestan province, which has been hit by drought, took to the streets to vent their anger.