Election of hardliner 'wake-up call'

World | REUTERS 21 Jun 2021

Israel condemned yesterday the election of hard-line judge Ebrahim Raisi as Iranian president, saying world powers should not negotiate a new nuclear deal with him.

Raisi secured victory as expected on Saturday after a contest marked by voter apathy over economic hardships and political restrictions.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett described Raisi's ascent as enabled by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rather than by a free and popular vote. "Raisi's election is ... the last chance for world powers to wake up," said Bennett. "A regime of brutal hangmen must never be allowed to have weapons of mass destruction."

Raisi, 69, has never publicly addressed allegations around his role in what Washington and rights groups have called the extra-judicial executions of thousands of political prisoners in 1988.

US President Joe Biden wants a return to the nuclear deal with Iran, which his predecessor Donald Trump quit.

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