In Iran, the new president takes power

The elected president of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi, presents himself with populist characters, in this conforming to the tendencies of many Western democracies, defender of the weaker classes of the country and with a role to take as a protagonist in the fight against corruption, interpreted from a political point of view of the ultra-conservative; naturally also with the firm will to maintain the current state of order in Iran. Even his usual attire, a long dark cloak and a turban, denotes his ideas, which come from the more traditional Shiite clergy. This election represents a diplomatic problem for the Iranian country, because the new president is blacklisted by Washington due to very serious allegations consisting in the violation of human rights, accusations always denied by the Iranian state; but also from an internal point of view, his electoral victory, although obtained in the first round, was marked by a great abstention, which poses doubts, not on the legitimacy of the vote, but on the political analysis of the internal political climate. The almost total lack of trust of the more progressive classes in the candidates present led to a general abstention from the vote of the part of the population alternative to the conservatives, decisively favoring Raisi’s victory. The new president will take over his duties, after the more moderate Hasan Rohani, who had been able to find an agreement with the international community in 2015, with the crisis for the nuclear program that had been ongoing for twelve years; this element causes deep concern for the diplomatic community, which fears a tightening on the part of Tehran, despite Biden’s desire to find a solution, following Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal. Raisi will turn sixty-one next November, his training is a mixture of religious studies and law and he began, at the age of twenty, to work in the Iranian legal system as Attorney General of a city close to the capital, immediately after the victory of the Islamic Revolution, until reaching the position of Attorney General of the nation. Since 2018 he has also held the position of teacher in a Shiite seminary; in the widely held opinion of many of the country’s media operators, he is one of the biggest favorites to become the successor of the supreme leader. Coming from the clergy and from the more conservative part of the country, combined with the poor overall electoral success and aware of the need to unite a torn social fabric on the issues of individual freedoms, Raisi had to commit to promising the defense of freedom of expression, of fundamental rights and to ensure the transparency of political action. According to the moderate and reforming Iranians, the new president, in addition to being an ultra-conservative, would be an inexperienced in political management, a very serious lack to obtain a synthesis that would allow him to implement incisive government action. Even more serious are the accusations of the opposition in exile, which accuses Raisi, in his role, occupied in 1988, as deputy prosecutor of the revolutionary court of Tehran, of having played an active part in the mass executions of left-wing detainees. The new Iranian president has denied being involved in this repression, however he said he agreed with Khomeini’s order to have purged to maintain the security of the Islamic Republic. The impression is that, potentially, Raisi could be a factor capable of altering the already fragile regional balances, especially in relations with Israel and the Sunni Arab states, but the needs of the country’s economy, which is increasingly in serious difficulty, they can limit their extremist action due to the need to reduce economic sanctions: from this point of view, the normalization of relations with the USA, at least on the issue of the nuclear treaty, will be an objective, even if not explicitly stated; also because the possibility of detaching from the American economy and relying exclusively on the Russian and Chinese ones does not guarantee that we will overcome the heavy economic difficulties imposed by the US sanctions and its allies.