| 23 September 2021, Thursday |

Iran’s Ebrahim Raisi to be sworn in as president Aug. 5

Iran’s President-elect Ebrahim Raisi will be sworn in as Iran’s president on Thursday, as the country’s clerical rulers face growing crises at home and abroad.

Iranian television said Raisi, 60, would be inaugurated later Thursday, two days after winning the formal endorsement of the country’s supreme leader to take office following his victory in an election in June.

When Raisi was a judge, he was under US sanctions over allegations of human rights abuses. He has promised to take steps to remove tough US sanctions that have cut Iran’s oil exports and have shut it out of the international banking system.

To revive the 2015 nuclear deal abandoned three years ago by then US President Donald Trump, Iran has been in talks with six major powers.

Under the deal, Iran agreed to curbs on its nuclear program in return for the lifting of international sanctions, but Trump withdrew from the deal and reimposed sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy. Tehran has since violated limits imposed on its nuclear activities under the agreement.

Like Iran’s supreme leader, Raisi has endorsed the nuclear talks, but the mid-ranking Shia cleric is widely expected to adopt a tougher line in talks that have stalled.

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has the last say on all state matters including nuclear policy.

Ongoing Iran nuclear talks

Iranian and Western officials have said significant gaps remain to be resolved in the nuclear talks and have yet to announce when the talks will resume.

With economic misery palpable at home and signs of growing anger among Iranians over economic hardships, breaking free of the US sanctions will be Raisi’s top economic goal, political analysts say. Tensions have simmered between Iran and the West after a suspected drone attack last week on an Israeli-managed tanker off the Omani coast that killed two crew members.

The US, Israel and Britain blamed the incident on Iran. Tehran has denied responsibility, and warned it would respond promptly to any threat to its security.