Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi,
(Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi)

Iran’s new Pres hopeful for country’s future

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Ebrahim Raisi, 60, who was Tuesday (August 3) inaugurated as president of Iran and is set to be sworn in before parliament two days later, in his inauguration speech said he would seek to lift “oppressive” U.S. sanctions, but would “not tie the nation’s standard of living to the will of foreigners.”

Raisi, replaces moderate president Hassan Rouhani, whose landmark achievement was the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers. The 2015 deal granted Tehran sanctions relief in exchange for limits on its nuclear program.

Raisi, a former judiciary chief, will have to tackle negotiations aimed at reviving the nuclear deal from which Washington unilaterally withdrew imposing sweeping sanctions which have effectively cut Iran out of the world economy, slashing oil revenues and incomes. The Iranian economy contracted by more than 6% in both 2018 and 2019.

According to the World Bank  Iran’s GDP is now estimated to expand by 1.7% in 2020/21.

Six rounds of nuclear talks between Iran and world powers were held in Vienna between April and June 2021. The last round concluded on June 20, and no date has been set for a resumption.

U.S. President Joe Biden has pledged to rejoin the nuclear accord and lift sanctions if Iran moves back into compliance with the agreement.

Raisi, a former student of Khamenei, won a landslide victory in the June election and is seen by many Iran observers as Iran’s most “compatible” president with the supreme leader since Ayatollah Ali Khamenei took the role in 1989.

Khamenei gave his official seal of approval to Raisi in an endorsement ceremony on Tuesday and advised Raisi to “empower the country’s poor people and improve the national currency.”

The crash of the Iranian riyal has hit ordinary Iranians hard.

Raisi will have one week from Thursday (Aug. 5) to present his cabinet to parliament for a vote of confidence.

In July, Raisi called on parliament for “cooperation” to increase Iranians’ hope in the future. “I am very hopeful for the country’s future and confident that it is possible to overcome difficulties and limitations,” he said at the time.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, Al Jazeera, NDTV