International

Hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi set to become Iran’s president

Tehran: Iran’s ultraconservative cleric and judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi appears to have won the presidential elections held with other candidates conceding defeat.

Three out of four candidates in Iran’s presidential election have conceded defeat hours before the interior ministry is expected to announce the official results, Al Jazeera reported.

Raisi will be the first serving Iranian president sanctioned by the US government. Early reports said the conservative head of the judiciary, Ebrahim Raisi, won by a wide margin.

He was seen as the frontrunner in yesterday’s votes marred by low turnout and the disqualification of many candidates.Raisi, who has Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s support, will succeed moderate President Hassan Rouhani, Kyodo News reported.

Rouhani couldn’t contest elections as he was term-limited from seeking office again. Moderate and former Central Bank chief Abdolnasser Hemmati conceded his defeat by Raisi and congratulated him, making it certain the conservative hardliners will regain power for the first time in eight years.

“I hope your government, under the leadership of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, will bring comfort and prosperity to our nation,” Hemmati said in a letter, state media reported on Saturday.

Raisi did not immediately acknowledge Hemmati`s concession, nor that of former Revolutionary Guard commander Mohsen Rezaei, who also conceded a loss.

The other conservative candidate, Amir Hossein Ghazizadeh Hashemi, explicitly congratulated Raisi.”I congratulate … Raisi, elected by the nation,” Hashemi said, quoted by Iranian media.Raisi has promised to fight corruption and poverty.

He has indicated that he would continue indirect talks with the United States on reviving a 2015 nuclear deal while making it clear he will call for sanctions against Iran to be lifted.