Hardline conservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi was declared the winner of Iran’s June 2021 presidential election in a contest that was widely viewed as predetermined and will have major implications beyond Iran’s borders.
President-elect Raisi is the chief justice of Iran’s judiciary and a close ally of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Raisi, who will be inaugurated in August, will succeed two-term reformist President Hassan Rouhani. Raisi won an uncompetitive race with 62 percent of the vote against his more moderate opponent and former head of the central bank, Abdolnaser Hemmati. Iran’s Guardian Council, the body that vets presidential candidates, disqualified almost all of the non-conservative candidates.
The election of Raisi comes at a delicate time for Iran, as the country struggles to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and revive a shattered economy that was badly bruised by harsh economic sanctions.
The poor performance of the economy was one of the foremost issues among Iranian voters, and U.S. sanctions are in large part responsible for the economic stagnation.
The U.S. under former President Trump in 2018 withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPO-A), which capped uranium enrichment in exchange for sanctions relief.
Raisi is fully aligned with Ayatollah Khamenei in taking a tougher tone against Washington but is receptive to reentering the 2015 nuclear agreement.
STATE DEPARTMENT SLAMS ‘PRE-MANUFACTURED’ IRANIAN ELECTION AFTER HARD-LINER BECOMES PRESIDENT
President Biden has made it clear he intends to renegotiate the nuclear agreement struck under the Obama administration.
The United States is currently engaged in talks with Tehran in Vienna over its nuclear program, and any agreement that would curtail Iran’s nuclear program would require the U.S. to lift sanctions, which could prove to be politically divisive for the Biden administration.
The Biden administration wants assurances from Iran that there will be future negotiations o
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