Tehran: Hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi was sworn in as Iranian President before the parliament on Thursday amid rising internal tensions and clashes with the west, reported Reuters.
Known for his uncompromising views and alleged involvement in the mass executions of political prisoners in the 1980s, Raisi is a Shi'ite cleric who succeeded Hassan Rouhani as Iran's new president. Raisi was endorsed by the supreme leader of Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in the June elections. With Raisi's appointment into office, all of Iran's prominent powerheads are now anti-Western radicals loyal to the supreme leader.
Raisi, who has been heavily criticized for his human rights violations and is currently under U.S sanctions for the same, pledged to take action to lift border sanctions that have affected Iran's oil exports as well as removing the blockades that restrict Iran's access to international banking systems.
In a live broadcast of the swearing-in ceremony, Raisi said: "In the presence of the holy Koran and before the nation, I swear to the omnipotent God to safeguard the official religion of the country and the Islamic Republic as well as the country's constitution."
Raisi took the oath of office while the country faces various internal and external challenges. Iran's deteriorating economic conditions, including the growing cost of living, have resulted in rising tensions amongst their population. People took to the streets in recent times to protest severe water shortages, and the country also recorded its lowest voter turnout in four decades. Iran is also the worst-hit nation in the region with regards to the coronavirus pandemic, recording all-time high cases every day for the past three days, reported BBC.
The country also faces heat outside its borders. Britain, the US and Israel blamed Iran for a drone attack on a tanker near Oman that killed two people, allegations the country denied.
Raisi also stated that "All illegal U.S. sanctions against the Iranian nation must be lifted," and pledged to improve the livelihood of the Iranian people as well as improve relations with neighbouring countries.
The country's relationship with the West has been dwindling since former US President Donald Trump pulled out of a nuclear deal in 2018. Iran has since been negotiating with foreign powers to revive the deal and has blamed the US sanctions for the country's shortage of medicines.
The country is yet to resume nuclear talks with the West, with the US urging Raisi to expedite the process as the 'diplomatic window would not stay open forever'.