Ebrahim Raisi, the fanatical head of Iran’s judiciary, was elected president in a landslide on Friday — at least, among those who voted.
Many Iranians did not. Less fanatical groups called for a boycott of the election and turnout was down compared to the last presidential election in 2017.
But the election of Raisi was a foregone conclusion. The all-powerful Guardian Council had disqualified any candidate that had the potential to challenge Raisi. Since the Guardian Council is hand-picked by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Raisi was obviously his choice all along.
BREAKING: Iran election results are slowly coming in favor of the hardline Ebrahim Raisi, who was seen as the shoo-in candidate with an easy path to victory.
The other hardline candidate Rezaie, and the sole moderate candidate Hemmati have both congratulated Raisi. pic.twitter.com/btfTvl5chz
— Negar Mortazavi (@NegarMortazavi) June 19, 2021
Iran certainly has had some colorful characters as president. The urbane, but doomed, first president was Abolhassan Banisadr, who became a fixture on American television during the hostage crisis. Another character was Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, president from 1989-97. He was reportedly one of the richest men in the world at the time, having stolen billions from the Iranian people.
But President Raisi is the most interesting. No other Iranian president has entered office under sanction by the United States. No other Iranian president has been accused of carrying out mass murder.
Amnesty International wants an official investigation of Raisi to determine his culpability in the extra-judicial executions of thousands of prisoners in the 1980s.
Amnesty International on Saturday renewed a call for Iranian president-elect Ebrahim Raisi to be investigated for his role in what Washington and rights groups have called the extrajudicial executions of thousands of political prisoners in 1988.
Iran has never acknowledged the mass executions and Raisi has never publicly addressed allegations about his role. Some clerics have said the trials were fair, praising the “eliminating” of armed opposition in the early years of the 1979 Islamic revolution.
“The circumstances surrounding the fate of the victims and the whereabouts of their bodies are, to this day, systematically concealed by the Iranian authorities, amounting to ongoing crimes against humanity,” Amnesty Secretary-General Agnès Callamard said in a statement.
“We continue to call for Ebrahim Raisi to be investigated for his involvement in past and ongoing crimes under international law, including by states that exercise universal jurisdiction,” she said.
Raisi has also been mentioned prominently as a potential successor to 82-year-old Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
It’s not expected that his election will impede Joe Biden’s effort to negotiate a way back into the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, but you can forget any deals on Iran’s missile program or their support for terrorists. What the U.S. can expect is unrelenting hostility.
However, Mr. Raisi’s conservative views will make it more difficult for the United States to reach additional deals with Iran and extract concessions on critical issues such as the country’s missile program, its backing of proxy militias around the Middle East and human rights.
To his supporters, Mr. Raisi’s close identification with the supreme leader, and by extension with the Islamic Revolution that brought Iran’s clerical leaders to power in 1979, is part of his appeal. Campaign posters showed Mr. Raisi’s face alongside those of Mr. Khamenei and his predecessor, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, or Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the Iranian commander whose death in an American airstrike last year prompted an outpouring of grief and anger among Iranians.
Raisi couldn’t end the corruption even if he wasn’t benefitting from it. The Iranian clerical fascists have been robbing the people blind for 40 years. It is they, backed by the powerful Revolutionary Guard Corps, that run the most profitable industries and companies. And if they don’t run them, they take a cut from those who do.
It’s a nice little protection racket that Iran’s religious leaders have going for them. And the only way it will end is when they are overthrown.