Conservative justice chief Ebrahim Raisi will take office in early August to replace moderate President Hassan Rouhani.
Tehran, Iran – The head of conservative justice, Ebrahim Raisi, has been elected the eighth president of Iran, according to the interior ministry.
The ministry confirmed on Saturday that Raisi got 61.95% of the vote in a 48.8% turnout, the lowest turnout for the presidential election since the 1979 revolution. Raisi got 28,933,004 votes.
With 3,726,870 votes, the null vote ended in second place, also for the first time since the establishment of the Islamic Republic.
Former Revolutionary Guard commander Mohsen Rezaei finished third in Friday’s election with 3,412,712 votes and was followed by moderate candidate Abdolnasswer Hemmati with 2,427,201 votes and conservative Amir Hossein Ghazizadeh Hashemi with 999,718 votes.
“We did not have any violations that could have a significant impact on the election result,” Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani-Fazli said during a press conference.
Rezaei, Hemmati and Hashemi had granted before Saturday’s announcement.
Raisi will take office in early August, replacing moderate President Hassan Rouhani, whose constitution did not allow him to run for a third consecutive term.
“I congratulate the people on their choice,” Rouhani said Saturday.
Raisi’s election marks a consolidation of power by the conservative and hard-line camp, which already controls parliament and will likely also have a substitute for the judiciary.
The Muslim scholar, who wears a black turban to signify that he is a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad of Islam, is also seen as the country’s next supreme leader.
Raisi has become the first Iranian president sanctioned by the United States even before taking office as he was appointed in 2019.
The United States blacklisted him for his role in the mass execution of political prisoners in 1988, his involvement in the crackdown on the 2009 Green Movement protests, and “the administration overseeing the executions of ‘individuals who were minors at the time of their crime’.
Raisi grew up in the northeastern city of Mashhad, an important religious center for Shiite Muslims where Imam Reza, the eighth Shiite religious leader, is buried.
He attended Qom seminar and studied with some of Iran’s most prominent Muslim scholars, including supreme leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei.
After becoming a prosecutor in several jurisdictions, Raisi moved to the capital, Tehran, in 1985 after being appointed deputy prosecutor.
After increasing the ranks of the judicial system, in March 2016 he was appointed by the supreme leader as custodian of the Astan-e Quds Razavi, the influential shrine of Imam Reza, where he controlled billions of dollars in assets.
He had run unsuccessfully for the presidency against Rouhani in 2017, garnering 38% of the vote.
“Rival to corruption”
Raisi had it pledged to improve the Iranian economy that is plagued by U.S. sanctions and the coronavirus pandemic that exacerbated decades-long infrastructure problems caused by local mismanagement.
Despite previously opposing Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, Raisi said during presidential debates earlier this month that he will maintain the benchmark deal like any other state commitment.
However, he noted that he will form a “strong” government to steer the deal in the right direction.