Ebrahim Raisi has been sworn in as Iran‘s president.
Gatekeepers News reports that Raisi who won the nation’s election in June, took the oath of office before parliament on Thursday.
Raisi who succeeds Hassan Rouhani assumed office at a time of rising challenges for Iran, whose economy has been crippled by US-led sanctions.
There are also heightened pressures with foreign authorities who have blamed Iran for a deadly drone attack on a tanker near Oman last week, which Iran has denied.
The 60-year-old president is under United States sanctions and has been linked to past executions of political prisoners. He is Iran’s top judge and holds ultra-conservative views.
Raisi, after being sworn in, assured that he will work to remove U.S sanctions that have contributed to economic hardship for ordinary Iranians and caused widespread discontent.
Raisi said he would support “any diplomatic plans” to lift sanctions.
“The Iranian people expect the new government to improve their livelihoods… All illegal US sanctions against the Iranian nation must be lifted,” he said.
Gatekeepers News reports that Raisi has become the second-highest-ranking official in Iran after the supreme leader.
In Iran’s political system it is the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the top religious cleric, who has the final say on all state matters.
Raisi has served as a prosecutor for most of his career and held powerful and high-ranking positions from an early age. He was already serving as the chief prosecutor of the city of Karaj when he was just 20-year-old.
He was appointed head of the judiciary in 2019, two years after he lost by a landslide to Rouhani in the last presidential election.
Raisi has presented himself as the best person to fight corruption and inequality, and solve Iran’s economic problems. “Our people’s grievances over shortcomings are real,” he had said when he cast his vote in Tehran.
Iranians and rights groups have fingered the President for alleged role in the mass executions of political prisoners in 1988 when he was 27 years old.
According to Amnesty International, Raisi is part of a “death committee” – one of four judges who oversaw secret death sentences for about 5,000 prisoners in jails near Tehran.
“That Ebrahim Raisi has risen to the presidency instead of being investigated for the crimes against humanity of murder, enforced disappearance and torture, is a grim reminder that impunity reigns supreme in Iran,” said Secretary-General of Amnesty International, Agnès Callamard.
Raisi has repeatedly denied his role in the death sentences but said they were justified because of a fatwa, or religious ruling, by former supreme leader Ayatollah Khomeini.