Ebrahim Raisi was sworn in as the new President of Iran on August 5 during an inauguration ceremony in the country’s parliament. The 60-year-old cleric is Iran’s eighth president since the 1979 revolution. The inauguration came two days after Raisi received the endorsement of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who previously served as the Iranian President from 1981-1989. Raisi’s victory in June’s presidential election was seen as notably lacking by observers, as a record number of reformist candidates were barred from standing by the Guardian Council.
In his inaugural address, Ebrahim Raisi appealed to conservative values and laid out his foreign policy beliefs during his inaugural address. “I will dedicate myself to the service of the people, the honor of the country, the propagation of religion and morality, and the support of truth and justice,” Raisi said during the ceremony. Raisi also promised to stand up against regional and western adversaries. “Wherever there is oppression and crime in the world, in the heart of Europe, in the US, Africa, Syria, Yemen, Palestine,” Raisi said. “The message of this election was resistance against arrogant powers.” At the same time, Iran’s new President promised to improve relations with other countries in the Middle East. “I extend the hand of friendship and brotherhood to all countries in the region, especially our neighbors,” Raisi said, while adding that there is “no obstacle” to improving strained ties with Saudi Arabia.
Despite the fact that he has a reputation as a hardliner within the context of Iranian politics, Ebrahim Raisi has promised to make progress in the lifting of US sanctions that have restricted Iran’s dealings with the outside world, especially regarding the vital sale of oil. He said during the inauguration that the sanctions against Iran must be abolished and that he would welcome any diplomatic measures that would make that happen. “The sanctions must be lifted,” Raisi said in the address. “We will support any diplomatic plan that supports this goal.” Even though Raisi has attempted to strike a conciliatory tone with the US regarding the Iranian nuclear program and US sanctions against Iran, Raisi is currently subject to his own personal sanctions by the US, who accuse him of having carried out human rights abuses during his time serving as a judge.
Iran has been negotiating with six major world powers over a possible return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the 2015 nuclear treaty that would see the end of many international sanctions in return for an agreement to limit the Iranian nuclear program. Former US President Donald Trump pulled out of the deal in 2018 and escalated hostilities with Iran during his last three years in office. President Joe Biden has expressed willingness to return to the deal, but talks have so far stalled due to the continued Coronavirus pandemic and continued distrust between both Iran and the US. US State Department spokesperson Ned Price on August 5 called for Iran to return to nuclear negotiations “soon,” while adding that this “process cannot go on indefinitely.” “We hope that Iran seizes the opportunity now to advance diplomatic solutions,” Price said in a press conference.
On domestic policy, Ebrahim Raisi is generally considered to be a conservative populist and has expressed support for policies such as Import Substitution Industrialization as a way to develop the Iranian economy as well as more conservative social policies. As a result of his social policy positions, dissidents fear that Raisi’s ascension signifies the return of harsher repression in comparison to the moderate administration under former President Hassan Rouhani. With Raisi now officially sworn in, Iran’s conservative hardliners control all three branches of government, the executive, the legislative, and the judiciary for the first time since 2013.]