World

Iran's new hardline President Ebrahim Raisi sworn in

August 06, 2021
brahim Raisi was inaugurated as Iran's new president on Thursday, signaling the start of a new harder-line era that could herald major shifts in the Islamic Republic's policies at home and abroad. — Courtesy photo
brahim Raisi was inaugurated as Iran's new president on Thursday, signaling the start of a new harder-line era that could herald major shifts in the Islamic Republic's policies at home and abroad. — Courtesy photo

TEHRAN — Ebrahim Raisi was inaugurated as Iran's new president on Thursday, signaling the start of a new harder-line era that could herald major shifts in the Islamic Republic's policies at home and abroad.

After eight years of Hassan Rouhani's moderate administration, Iran now turns to Raisi, an ultra-conservative judiciary chief whose views are fully in line with the thinking of the country's powerful clergy and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the final say on all major matters of state.

Raisi's inauguration comes at a pivotal time, with Iran currently in indirect negotiations with the United States over how to revive the 2015 nuclear agreement. Raisi will also face the task of reviving his country's economy, which has been battered in recent years by the previous US administration's "maximum pressure" campaign of sanctions. Tensions in the region are also high following a string of maritime provocations blamed by the West on Tehran.

"I swear to safeguard the official religion and the establishment of the Islamic Republic and constitution of the nation," Raisi said in taking the oath at parliament on Thursday. During the ceremony, tributes were paid to Qassem Soleimani, the top Iranian commander who died in a targeted killing ordered by former US President Donald Trump.

After his swearing-in ceremony, Raisi called for US sanctions to be lifted, saying that his government will "support any diplomatic plan that will realize that objective."

Raisi also said that the aim behind his country's nuclear program is "peaceful," and that Iran "rejects the use of nuclear power except for civilian purposes."

Among the attendees at Thursday's ceremony were Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Iraqi President Barham Salih and the EU's Deputy Secretary-General for Foreign Action Enrique Mora, according to state media. Hamas leader Ismail Haniya and Hezbollah's deputy secretary-general Naim Qasem were also in the audience, along with Kuwait's top diplomat and Qatar's minister of business and trade.

At another ceremony earlier this week, the Supreme Leader praised the incoming administration as Rouhani silently sat and looked on.

"In a transfer of power, new ideas and new resolve enter the field, and this is a source of hope for all those who are highly motivated to serve the country, in particular the youth," Khamenei said in a speech Monday about the contentious June elections that brought Raisi to power.

The polls were marked by historically low turnout and criticized as largely uncompetitive after an unelected panel of clerics and lawyers barred all the major reformist and centrist candidates from running, all but guaranteeing Raisi's victory.

Raisi quickly made clear that he is on the same page as the Supreme Leader. The new president also has a strong majority in parliament, which will allow him to quickly push through legislation that could lead to major shifts in Iran's domestic and foreign policies. — CNN


August 06, 2021
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