Hard-line judiciary head Ebrahim Raisi wins Iran presidency

With new Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi being a hardliner, the issues between Iran and the west remain as complex as ever, ITV News Correspondent Neil Connery reports

This was never going to be a cliffhanger election.

The victory of hardliner Ebrahim Raisi to become Iran’s 8th President since the 1979 Islamic revolution is perhaps the least surprising news of the week. The 60-year-old is head of Iran’s judiciary and is widely believed to be the preferred candidate of the Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He’s said to consider Raisi a close confidant and possible successor. Raisi has pledged to tackle poverty, corruption and discrimination. The focus of the world outside will be on the approach he takes to the efforts to resuscitate Iran’s nuclear deal.

World powers are trying to salvage the 2015 agreement that Donald Trump abandoned three years ago which restricts Tehran’s atomic activities in return for sanctions relief.

Those sanctions, exacerbated by the Covid pandemic, have left Iran facing an economic crisis.

Turnout appears to be far lower than in Iran’s last presidential election in 2017. Credit: AP

Inflation is nearly 50% and making life for ordinary Iranians increasingly difficult. So what difference will a Raisi presidency mean for the nuclear deal? Whatever the outcome of Friday’s ballot the decision to try to salvage the deal was taken by the Supreme leader.

Authorities here say that won’t change. So the ongoing efforts in Vienna between the US and Iran to try and resume the deal carry on. Iran’s influence reaches out far across the Middle East.

In Syria and Yemen and in it’s support and backing for Hamas, Iran’s regional rivalry with Saudi Arabia defines many conflicts and issues across the Middle East.

Tehran’s approach to Israel is also a key factor. Analysts expect President Raisi will continue to maximise Iran’s influence where he can. So as the dust settles after this election the shape of Iran’s future and its relations with others depends upon the ability to agree the nuclear deal to get sanctions lifted.