Iran's new president: an entrenched hardliner
The ultra-conservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi has won the presidential election in Iran. Raisi, the former head of the country's judiciary, had been the clear favourite out of the seven conservative candidates that the country's Guardian Council had allowed to stand for election. Only 48 percent of eligible voters cast their ballots. Raisi has been accused of crimes against humanity by the UN, Amnesty International and others.
Hardliner is an understatement
The darkest chapters of the Islamic Revolution are being opened again, the web portal Liberal writes about Raisi:
“Ever since the Islamic Revolution, he has been accused of ordering mass executions of opponents of the revolution in Iran. Amnesty International holds him responsible for forced disappearances and executions of prisoners, and also for crimes against humanity and the suppression of human rights. Iran remains the country with the highest of executions bar China. ... The 2019 demonstrations, during which Raisi was the head of the judiciary, furnish the most typical example of the restriction of rights.”
Who will be the regime's scapegoat now?
The head of state Ali Khamenei has succeeded in installing a close confidant in power to form the next government, comments news.bg:
“And in the long run, a successor who could replace him in the most important position as Iran's supreme leader. Among the advantages on Raisi's CV [from Khamenei's point of view] is that he is aware of the regime's dark secrets and is already under US sanctions. ... There is one convenience that the Ayatollah and the Revolutionary Guard must renounce in the future, however: blaming Rouhani's moderate government for every failure in the country's economic and social systems. From now on the mullah regime will have to find another scapegoat.”
Accomodate Tehran despite everything
The Frankfurter Rundschau believes that Raisi and the Mullah regime will not use a hard hand alone to calm the tense situation:
“It must be an alarm signal to them, too, when half the population boycotts the ballot by not voting. They must confront the rampant poverty and growing frustration. To boost the economy, they will have to get rid of the US sanctions by seeking a new nuclear deal. Despite everything, the US and the Europeans should accommodate Tehran so that it stops enriching uranium. If these talks fail, Iran will probably continue to threaten with the nuclear bomb and increase repression against the growing discontent.”
Biden administration must be firm now
When it comes to the future of the 2015 Vienna nuclear deal, Biden must set clear criteria, political analyst Razvan Munteanu writes in Spotmedia:
“True, the Biden administration could accommodate the Iranians' desire to continue banking with European institutions. But it must force Iran to stop expanding its nuclear power plant capacity, to stop developing medium- and longer-range military missiles and, above all, to stop supporting terrorist groups, such as Hamas, the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine, and also the Huthi rebels in Yemen.”