Election winner Raisi: Blood on the hands
Photo: Vahid Salemi / AP
With his gray beard, he looks older than he is.
The deliberate way of speaking and the somewhat awkward movements reinforce the impression that Ebraim Raisi is the nice intellectual next door.
But the honest countenance is deceptive - and tremendously.
Raisi, the newly elected President of Iran, is a hardliner who does not take prisoners.
To say that there is blood on the hands of the man who will soon rule the fate of the country would be an understatement.
One day the man will go down in world history as a butcher.
As one of four Sharia judges, he oversaw the execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988.
Amnesty International spoke of 5,000 people executed in 2018, but it could also be far more.
In 2019, the US imposed sanctions on Raisi for human rights violations, including the 1988 executions and his involvement in suppressing the riots in 2009.
Raisi was born the son of a clergyman in the northern Iranian pilgrimage city of Mashhad.
When the Shah Reza Pahlewi was overthrown in 1979, he was just 18 years old.
The young theology student quickly understood the opportunities offered by the political upheaval.
And although he had only a rudimentary knowledge of Islamic law up to that point, only two years later he was appointed public prosecutor for the city of Karaj near Tehran.
There he quickly made a name for himself through the merciless pursuit of opponents of the regime.
The death judge
As a prosecutor and judge, he ensured that countless death sentences were passed.
Anyone who did not follow his line, or was even suspected of leaving, had to expect repression.
Raisi quickly submitted to law and order. An example of this can be seen in his administration after the crackdown on protests against the controversial re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009. Raisi was supposed to investigate allegations that protesters were raped in prisons. At the end of the investigation, however, it was not those responsible who ended up in court, but those who had made the allegations. In his role as chairman of the Special Court for the Clergy, too, he pursued a relentless course.
Raisi is likely to appear just as uncompromising towards the governments of the free world as towards his domestic political opponents.
The 60-year-old, who is also considered to be the successor to Iran's highest spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has stated that he “does not want to waste a moment” to get rid of the existing US sanctions.
Experts see this as support for the ongoing talks with the signatory states on reviving the 2015 agreement;
but it remains to be seen what conditions the West should meet for this.
Political program not yet recognizable
But even the hardliners in the Iranian leadership should be aware that it will not work without compromise.
Because the regime is facing enormous problems.
The sanctions imposed on oil and financial corporations by the US after it declared its withdrawal from the nuclear agreement in 2018 are now having an effect.
Unemployment has risen to 11 percent and is driving more and more people into poverty.
Inflation is 39 percent.
The local currency, the rial, has lost around 70 percent of its value since 2018.
It is questionable whether these problems can be solved with a hard hand.
Raisi promised to create more jobs and take care of the poor in the country.
However, he did not present a detailed political or economic program during the election campaign.
With material from AFP
With material from AFP