The ultra-conservative leader will become the Islamic Republic's eighth chief executive after taking the oath of office in parliament on 5 August

Ebrahim Raisi sworn in as Iran's new president

AFP/ ATTA KENARE - Iranian President-elect Ebrahim Raisi

Iran inaugurates its new president, Ebrahim Raisi, amid renewed tensions with the United States and Israel, following the approval of his election by the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Last June, the Islamic Republic held presidential elections under the threat of a low turnout, which could call into question the legitimacy of the elections.

Ebrahim Raisi emerged as the favourite candidate to win the elections after the Guardian Council, the body in charge of approving nominations, rejected several leading reformist and moderate contenders, including former parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani. Raisi, a former head of the Judiciary Authority and an ultra-conservative, emerged as the clear winner of the 19 June elections with almost 62 per cent of the vote.


Iran's new president takes over from Hassan Rohani, president of the Islamic Republic since 2013, at the helm of the Persian country and inherits a climate of high tensions in the region, as well as the continuity of negotiations on the return to the nuclear pact with the United States. As for domestic challenges, the former head of the judiciary faces a critical economic situation exacerbated by the COVID-19 that continues to break records in the Persian country, to which must be added the strong demonstrations as a result of the scarcity of water resources that affect the country, especially the province of Khuzestan, in southwest Iran.

The outlook is rather bleak for Iran's new president, Ebrahim Raisi, who was ratified as the new president today during a ceremony attended by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, as well as senior Iranian state and military officials and foreign representatives. The European Union has also announced that diplomat Enrique Mora, the EU's negotiator for the return to the 2015 Nuclear Pact, will attend the swearing-in ceremony on 5 August.


The presence of the Spanish diplomat, Enrique Mora, at Ebrahim Raisi's inauguration ceremony just days after Israel accused Iran of attacking an Israeli ship near Oman, has caused tensions with the Hebrew country. Israel's foreign ministry said Mora's presence in Tehran "is disconcerting and shows poor judgement". "The participation of an EU representative in the ceremony comes just days after Iran killed two civilians, one of them from an EU member state, in an act of state terrorism against a civilian vessel," an official statement from the Israeli foreign ministry said.

The United States and the United Kingdom have shown their support for Israel in the wake of the attack. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken himself has pledged that the US will respond to the attack "collectively" with the UK, Israel, Romania and other countries. The Islamic Republic has consistently denied responsibility for the attack on the Israeli ship and has warned that it will respond "promptly" to any threat to its security, the foreign ministry said. 


Israel and Iran have always been bitter enemies but tensions between the two countries have been rising since 2018, when then US President Donald Trump abandoned the 2015 Tehran nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions that have crippled the Islamic Republic's economy. With the arrival of the new US president, Joe Biden, in the White House, the way was opened for negotiations on a return to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

The Vienna Talks, which began in April, have now reached six rounds of negotiations and a seventh is expected once Iran's new president, Ebrahim Raisi, has formed a government. Raisi, during his speech at the inauguration ceremony, stressed that the new government will seek the elimination of "cruel" sanctions, but that it will not condition the economy and the needs of the population "to the will of foreigners". In this sense, it is expected that Iran's new president will take a tougher stance on the negotiations on the return to the 2015 nuclear pact than his predecessor Hasan Rohani. 


On domestic policy, Raisi said that the country's main problems are public debt, inflation, unemployment, the pandemic and electricity and water shortages. The new president said he had drawn up "a short-term programme" and promised to unveil it "very soon". Iran's new president is expected to be sworn in as the 8th president of the Islamic Republic before parliament on 5 August.