In Iran, Ebrahim Raisi, the conservative head of the judiciary, won an expected landslide victory in Friday’s presidential election. The vote was marked by a historically low turnout after Iran’s Guardian Council disqualified many potential candidates. Raisi, who enjoys the backing of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was targeted by U.S. sanctions in 2019. He is accused of being involved in thousands of executions of prisoners in the late 1980s. Amnesty International has called for the hard-line cleric to be investigated for crimes against humanity. Raisi’s win comes as talks continue to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, from which the U.S. unilaterally withdrew in 2018 under President Trump. Analysts say they expect negotiations to conclude before the transfer of power. On Saturday, outgoing Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the talks are progressing but challenges remain.
Mohammad Javad Zarif: “The problem is, the United States has to come to the recognition that it was the United States that left the deal with an objective, and that objective was not achieved. Now it is coming back to the deal, so it cannot dictate the objectives that it couldn’t achieve through economic war on the negotiating table.”
Incoming President Raisi has expressed support for the deal but on Monday told reporters he is not willing to meet with President Biden or negotiate Iran’s ballistic missile program or its support of regional militias.