The ultra-conservative Ebrahim Raisi was inaugurated as president of Iran on Tuesday. In his maiden speech, he immediately made it clear that he is committed to ending economic sanctions against his country. But he’s not very sure. Britain wants to find ‘a suitable response’ to new drone attacks in the Gulf of Oman.
Raisi was inaugurated on Tuesday after Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei approved his election. “Following the choice of the people, I at this moment proclaim the wise, tireless, experienced and popular Ebrahim Raisi as President of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” the Grand Ayatollah wrote in a decree read by his chief of staff. Raisi will also be sworn into parliament on Thursday.
Raisi, 60, won the presidential election in June with nearly 62 percent of the vote. However, he is not an impeccable figure. From 1985 to 1988, he was a deputy prosecutor in Tehran, which links him to the thousands of executions in Iran of political prisoners in the 1980s.
Raisi reiterated in Tuesday’s speech that his administration would seek to lift US sanctions against Iran. Still, he doesn’t expect other countries to help improve the country’s economic and social crisis. “We will certainly strive for the lifting of oppressive sanctions, but we will not tie the nation’s living conditions to the will of foreigners,” he said at the dedication ceremony.
The swearing-in comes at a time when unrest in the Gulf of Oman is escalating again. Last week, two people on board a Japanese ship were killed in a drone attack there. It concerns a British and a Romanian. Ships have been a target there for some time, but according to British media, these are the first fatalities in years.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said yesterday that Iran is “most likely” behind the attack. Concrete sanctions have not been announced, but Raab says it considers “an appropriate response to this unacceptable attack”.