Thursday, July 7

The ultra-conservative Ebrahim Raisi, elected president of Iran

Correspondent in Jerusalem



The ultra-conservative clergyman Ebrahim Raisi, head of the judiciary, is the new president of Iran and a second round will not be necessary because it obtained 61.95 percent of the votes. The leadership of the regime did not want surprises and that is why it vetoed all the weighty candidates, especially reformists, and prepared the elections for this victory of Raisi that ends the two terms of moderate cleric Hasan Rohani. The regime wins with its candidate, but loses to voters who showed their rejection of the elections with an unprecedented abstention.

The turnout was 48.8 percent, the lowest in the history of the Islamic Republic and very far from the 73 percent of the last presidential elections, and in cities like Tehran barely 25 percent voted. These figures show the dissatisfaction of a part of the population with the Islamic system. Another revealing fact about the rejection of the way in which the system prepared these elections were the 3.7 million voters who cast invalid ballots at the polls.

Participation has been in the last four decades one of the main arguments of the regime for defend their legitimacy. The system always played with the ultra-conservative and reformist currents to maintain a certain emotion in the elections and a semblance of democratic balance, but this time it has preferred to sacrifice that emotion for the safety of a candidate like Raisi, who for some analysts is called to be the successor to Ali Khamenei, who at the age of 82 begins to think about his replacement.

«The paradigm has changed and participation was not the most important thing this time, but the elite candidate will win traditional conservative, since victory eluded them since 1997. Although this may affect legitimacy, the important thing is that the system remains functional, “says Luciano Zaccara, specialist in Iran and professor of Gulf Studies at the University of Qatar. .

Despite the figures saying otherwise, the Supreme Leader described the participation as “epic” and assured that in these elections “the great winner is the Iranian nation because it has risen again in the face of the propaganda of the enemy’s mercenary press.” . Always with conspiracy theory as the cause of all evils and without making any internal criticism, Khamenei has turned Iran into a monopolized regime monopolized in all its key sectors by the ultra-conservative current.

Congratulations before the result

The voting centers were open for 19 hours, but they only needed a few hours of count so that Raisi’s victory would be clear. The second most voted was Mohsen Rezaei and the third Abdolhossein Hemmatti, the only moderate voice among those selected by the Council of Guardians. Without needing to know the final data, the candidates who aspired to the presidency congratulated him, as did Rohani and the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, first world leader to send a message of Tehran.

After the official announcement of the victory came the congratulations of Hasan Nasrallah, leader of Lebanese Hezbollah, the Syrian and Iraqi presidents Bashar Al Assad y Barham Saleh, or the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas from Gaza. Another very different message came from Amnesty International (AI) which called for the opening of an investigation against Raisi for his alleged involvement in thousands of executions of political prisoners in the 1980s.

Rohani and Raisi held a joint press conference andthey set August 3 as the day for the formation of the new government. The winner of the election extended his hand to Rohani and assured that “we will take note of all his experience and cooperate closely with all members of his executive to get their opinions and points of view.” Iran is leaving behind eight years of a moderate presidency in which the outgoing president has been unable to deliver on his promises. The great asset of supporting Rohani was his approach to the West and the signing of the nuclear agreementThe problem was that after the arrival of Donald Trump, the United States broke the pact and reimposed sanctions that suffocated the Iranians. The country needs to sell oil, its main source of income, but American penalties, which Joe Biden seems willing to partially lift, prevent it.

Nuclear deal

Raisi’s team will pick up the baton in the negotiations with the United States to recover the nuclear deal. The campaign spokesman for the new president, Alireza Afshar, assured that they are in favor of continuing with these talks, although he understands them as “a marginal issue that should not be associated with the problems the country is going through or other state affairs.” Asked about the impact that the change can have on this process, Zaccara thinks that “the nuclear negotiations will continue with the new foreign minister and will be as legitimate as those of Rohani, Khatami and Ahmadinejad.” Regardless of the participation in an election of the person who is in charge of the executive, the last word on such an important issue will always have the Leader.

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