Raisi Said He Will Be a President for All Iranians

Ebrahim Raisi, a hardline judge who is under US sanctions for human rights abuses, secured victory on Saturday in Iran’s presidential election.

With all 28.9 million ballots counted, Raisi was elected with a tally of 17.9 million, interior minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said on state television.

Turnout in Friday’s four-man race was a record low of about 48.8 per cent and there were 3.7 million invalid ballots that were likely to have been mostly blank or protest votes.

Appointed by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to the high-profile job of judiciary chief in 2019, Raisi was placed under US sanctions a few months later over human rights violations.

Those included the role that human rights group say Raisi played in the executions of thousands of political prisoners in 1988 and in the violent suppression of unrest in 2009.

Iran has never acknowledged the mass executions, and Raisi has never publicly addressed allegations about his role.

Seen by analysts and insiders as representing the security establishment at its most fearsome, Raisi (60) had been widely tipped to win the contest, thanks to Khamenei’s endorsement.

Outgoing president Hassan Rouhani, barred by the constitution from seeking a third term, visited Raisi at his office to congratulate him, and foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said he would lead Iran well.

Raisi, who takes office in early August, said he will be a president for all Iranians – whether they voted for him or for the other candidates, or did not vote at all.

Meanwhile, parties negotiating a revival of the Iran nuclear deal will hold a formal meeting in Vienna on Sunday, the European Union said on Saturday.

Iran and six world powers have been negotiating in Vienna since April to work out steps for Washington and Tehran to take.