Ebrahim Raisi: Iran swears in new hard-line president amid regional tension | World News – News Vibe24

    Ebrahim Raisi: Iran swears in new hard-line president amid regional tension | World News - Times of India
    TEHRAN, IRAN: The bodyguard of Iran’s supreme leader, Ebrahim Raisi, was sworn in as the country’s new president during a ceremony in parliament on Thursday, inaugurating the end of hardliner rule in all branches of government in the Islamic Republic.
    The former head of justice, known for his distrust of the West, is taking the reins in a tense period. Iran’s indirect talks with the United States on rescuing the Tehran nuclear deal for 2015 have stalled, as Washington says sovereign sanctions on the country and hostilities in the region are simmering.
    “Sanctions must be lifted,” Rice said during the swearing-in speech, which lasted about an hour. “We will support any diplomatic plan that supports this goal.”
    Wearing the traditional black turban that identifies him in Shiite tradition as a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad, Rice recited the oath with his right hand in the Koran.
    In his speech, Rice stressed his embrace in diplomacy to lift US sanctions and rectify rifts with neighbors, a subtle reference to Sunni rival Saudi Arabia. But it also meant that Iran was seeking to expand its power as a counterweight to enemies throughout the region.
    “Where there is oppression and crime in the world, in the heart of Europe, in the United States, in Africa, in Yemen, in Syria, in Palestine,” he said, his voice rising with emotion. “The message of the election was resistance against the arrogant authorities.”
    Raisi, who won a landslide victory in an election that saw the lowest voter turnout in the nation’s history, faces a mountain of problems.
    Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei advised him to “empower the country’s poor and improve the national currency” during his presidency at Rice’s inauguration on Tuesday.
    Amid continuing sanctions, Iran is facing inflation, falling revenues, blackouts and water shortages that have sparked widespread protests. The sale of its oil abroad is banned, Iran has seen its economy collapse and its currency collapse, further hitting ordinary citizens.
    Former President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal in 2018 has led Tehran, over time, to abandon any restrictions on nuclear enrichment. The country now enriches a small amount of uranium up to 63%, a small step up from arms quality levels, compared to 3.67% under the agreement. It is also spinning much more advanced centrifuges and more than are allowed under the agreement, worrying experts about nuclear non-proliferation, although Tehran insists its program is peaceful.
    Raisi, 60, a conservative cleric cultivated by the supreme leader, has vowed to end US sanctions on Iran. But it also has a tough stance, blocking negotiations aimed at limiting the development of Iranian missiles and supporting regional militias – something the Biden government wants to address.
    Official proceedings in Tehran come just a week after a drone crashed into an oil tanker linked to an Israeli billionaire off the coast of Oman, killing two crew members. The United States, Israel and the United Kingdom have blamed Iran for the invasion and pledged a collective response, with the Israeli defense minister warning on Thursday that the country was ready to strike Iran. Although Tehran has refused to participate, the attack escalates into a long shadow war aimed at merchant shipping in the Middle East and threatens to complicate efforts to revive the nuclear deal.
    Thursday’s opening ceremony, which has been cut short by the coronavirus pandemic wreaking havoc on the country, continues to attract leaders and officials from around the world. The presidents of Iraq and Afghanistan went to the occasion, along with Enrique Mora, the European Union official who coordinated the recent nuclear talks in Vienna. Senior officials from Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Venezuela and South Korea also attended.

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