Iran: President Raisi’s hardline government stalling on progress

Conservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi was inaugurated as Iran’s sixth president in August, coming into office an uncompromising hardliner contrasting with his predecessor, Hassan Rouhani.

As a supporter and close confidant of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, President Raisi can count on the backing of Iran’s parliament, where hardliners have held a majority since early 2020.

Raisi began his term pledging a “revolutionary” emergency recovery program to repair Iran’s economy, battered by international sanctions, the coronavirus pandemic, and structural problems, while promising “peace and prosperity” to all Iranians.

“Peace for the country and prosperity through economic growth are not part of the fundamental policy of the Islamic Republic,” said Fatemeh Haghighatjoo, head of the US-based NGO Nonviolent Initiative for Democracy Inc.

“Those in power, especially the hardliners, dream of exporting their ideology and greater influence in the region through military strength,” Haghighatjoo added.

From 2000 to 2004, Haghightjoo was a member of the Iranian parliament as a reform-oriented politician. She has lived in the US since 2005.

“In Iran, we have an autocratic system with the supreme religious leader at the top who wants to decide everything,” Haghightjoo said. For Khamenei, President Raisi is merely an “instrument” used for pushing through the supreme leader’s agenda, she added.

Iran seeking an economic lifeline

After 100 days in office, Raisi is facing economic challenges on several fronts.

Iran is currently dealing with rising COVID infections. The rial is tanking in value, and the country’s largest banks are racking up huge losses.

Relief from US sanctions, and a positive outcome in negotiations on reviving the nuclear deal are considered vital if the Iranian economy is to recover.

Nuclear talks with the UK, France, Germany, Russia and China are planned in Vienna on November 29.

The US has said it will pull back sanctions and return to the deal only if Iran agrees to stop enriching uranium, which Tehran expanded after former US President Donald Trump dumped the agreement in 2018.

Source: DW

Also Read: Iran’s Raisi Forms Cabinet Including Terror And Corruption Suspects


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