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Masoud Pezeshkian is the new Iranian president

Pezeshkian has pledged to promote a pragmatic foreign policy, ease tensions over stalled negotiations with major powers to revive the 2015 nuclear pact and improve prospects for social liberalization and political pluralism. 

News Arena Network - Tehran - UPDATED: July 6, 2024, 06:44 AM - 3 mins read

Masoud Pezeshkian. Image via X.

Masoud Pezeshkian is the new Iranian president

Masoud Pezeshkian. Image via X.


Iran’s president-elect, Masoud Pezeshkian, urged Iranians on Saturday to stick with him on “the difficult road ahead” after winning the run-off presidential vote. 

Pezeshkian, a 69-year-old cardiac surgeon and the sole moderate in four candidates' original field, defeated former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili.

He will replace hardline President Ebrahim Raisi, who died in a helicopter crash in May.

 

Pezeshkian has pledged to promote a pragmatic foreign policy, ease tensions over stalled negotiations with major powers to revive the 2015 nuclear pact and improve prospects for social liberalization and political pluralism. 

 

However, many Iranians are sceptical about his ability to fulfil his campaign promises, as Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei holds ultimate authority in the Islamic Republic.

 

“Dear people of Iran, the election is over, and this is just the beginning of our working together. A difficult road is ahead. It can only be smooth with your cooperation, empathy, and trust,” Pezeshkian said on social media platform X.

 

 “I extend my hand to you and swear on my honour that I will not abandon you on this path. Do not abandon me.”

 

After the election result is confirmed by a hardline watchdog body and approved by Khamenei, Pezeshkian will take the oath of office before parliament in Tehran in the coming days. 

 

Turnout was almost 50% in Friday’s vote, following historically low turnout in the first-round ballot on June 28.

 

Pezeshkian’s victory has lifted hopes of a thaw in Iran’s relations with the West that might create openings for defusing its nuclear dispute with world powers. 

 

Commending what he called a “high turnout,” Khamenei congratulated Pezeshkian on his win and counselled him to continue Raisi’s policies.

 

Videos on social media showed Pezeshkian’s supporters dancing in the streets and motorists honking car horns to cheer his victory. The election coincided with escalating regional tensions due to conflicts between Israel and Iranian allies Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, as well as increased Western pressure on Iran over its fast-advancing nuclear program.

 

Under Iran’s dual system of clerical and republican rule, the president cannot usher in any major policy shifts on Iran’s nuclear program or support for militia groups across the Middle East, as Khamenei calls all the shots on top state matters. However, the president can influence the tone of Iran’s policy and will be closely involved in selecting Khamenei’s successor, now 85.

 

Backed by Iran’s reformist camp led by former President Mohammad Khatami, Pezeshkian is faithful to Iran’s theocratic rule and has no intention of confronting the powerful security hawks and clerical rulers.

 

Foreign leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, have sent congratulatory messages to Pezeshkian.



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