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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi appears to be like on at a polling station throughout presidential elections in Tehran, Iran June 18, 2021. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia Information Company) through REUTERS

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By Parisa Hafezi

DUBAI (Reuters) -Ebrahim Raisi, a hardline decide who’s beneath U.S. sanctions for human rights abuses, secured victory as anticipated on Saturday in Iran’s presidential election after a contest marked by voter apathy over financial hardships and political restrictions.

With all 28.9 million ballots counted, Raisi was elected with a tally of 17.9 million, Inside Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli mentioned on state TV.

Turnout in Friday’s four-man race was a document low of round 48.8% and there have been 3.7 million invalid ballots that had been more likely to have been principally clean or protest votes.

Appointed by Supreme Chief Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to the high-profile job of judiciary chief in 2019, Raisi was positioned beneath U.S. sanctions a couple of months later over human rights violations.

These included the position that human rights group say Raisi performed within the executions of 1000’s of political prisoners within the 1988 and within the violent suppression of unrest in 2009.

Iran has by no means acknowledged the mass executions, and Raisi himself has by no means publicly addressed allegations about his position.

Seen by analysts and insiders as representing the safety institution at its most fearsome, Raisi, 60, had been extensively tipped to win the competition, because of Khamenei’s endorsement.

Iran’s regional allies, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and militant Islamist group Hamas welcomed Raisi’s election. Amnesty Worldwide’s Secretary Normal Agnès Callamard mentioned his victory was “a grim reminder that impunity reigns supreme in Iran”.

“We proceed to name for Ebrahim Raisi to be investigated for his involvement in previous and ongoing crimes beneath worldwide regulation, together with by states that train common jurisdiction,” she mentioned in an announcement.

Outgoing pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani, barred by the structure from in search of a 3rd time period, visited Raisi at his workplace to congratulate him, and Overseas Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif mentioned he would lead Iran nicely.

“Backed by your excessive vote and distinctive confidence, I’ll kind a hard-working, revolutionary and anti-corruption authorities,” state media quoted Raisi as saying in an announcement.

Raisi, who takes workplace in early August, mentioned he can be a president for all Iranians – whether or not they voted for him or for the opposite candidates, or didn’t vote in any respect.

NUCLEAR TALKS

Raisi’s election comes at a crucial time.

Iran and 6 main powers are in talks to revive their 2015 nuclear deal. Donald Trump, U.S. president on the time, deserted the deal in 2018 and reimposed crippling sanctions which have squeezed Iran’s oil earnings.

Nonetheless, with Iran’s ruling clerics conscious their political fortunes depend on tackling worsening financial hardships, Raisi’s win is not going to disrupt Iran’s effort to revive the pact and break freed from powerful U.S. oil and monetary sanctions.

Nonetheless, some analysts predicted his hardline stances may deter overseas traders.

“Raisi’s hardline political and financial beliefs will restrict the scope for important overseas funding if a deal is reached and additional isolate Tehran from the West,” mentioned senior analyst Henry Rome at Eurasia Group.

Khamenei, not the president, has the final say on all situation of state corresponding to Iran’s overseas and nuclear insurance policies.

In search of to win over voters preoccupied by bread-and-butter points, Raisi has promised to create tens of millions of jobs and deal with inflation, with out providing an in depth political or financial programme.

LACK OF CHOICE

Hoping to spice up their legitimacy, the nation’s clerical rulers had urged individuals to end up and vote on Friday, however simmering anger over financial hardships and curbs on freedoms stored many Iranians at residence.

Khamenei mentioned the turnout displayed the clerical institution’s reputation. However greater than half of eligible voters had been too dissatisfied to vote or appeared to have heeded calls by a whole bunch of dissidents, at residence and overseas, to boycott the vote.

One other deterrent for a lot of pro-reform voters was a scarcity of alternative, after a hardline election physique barred heavyweight moderates and conservatives from standing.

A U.S. State Division spokesperson mentioned on Friday: “Iranians had been denied their proper to decide on their very own leaders in a free and truthful electoral course of” – a possible reference to the disqualification of candidates.

Many professional-reform Iranians worry Raisi’s presidency may usher in additional repression.

“I’m scared. I do not need to return to jail once more. I’m sure that any sort of dissent is not going to be tolerated,” mentioned Hamidreza, 31, who declined to present his full title. He was jailed for taking part in unrest in 2019 that broke out over gasoline worth hikes and shortly turned political.

Analysts say the election win may improve Raisi’s probabilities of succeeding Khamenei, who himself served two phrases as president earlier than changing into supreme chief in 1989.



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