Ebrahim Raisi, a hardline legal official sanctioned by the U.S. government, won Iran’s presidential election after his main rivals conceded defeat Saturday, state media reported.
Raisi is the chief of Iran’s judiciary and was the runner-up in Iran’s last presidential election in 2017. Incumbent Hassan Rouhani, a moderate, is stepping down because he has reached his term limit. Initial results showed Raisi won almost 18 million votes in the contest, dwarfing those of the race’s sole moderate candidate.
Rouhani served two four-year terms and broadly speaking he sought more engagement with the West. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ultimately has the final say on all Iran’s domestic and overseas policy. However, the election of a new Iranian president could impact a range of issues, internal and external.
Here are three ways Iran’s vote matters:
The nuclear deal
Washington and Tehran, aided by European nations and Russia, are currently locked in talks over if, and on what terms, to resume a 2015 nuclear accord exited by former President Donald Trump.
The field of candidates for Iran’s presidential election was whittled down to just four – three hardliners and a centrist. Raisi’s victory could complicate those discussions. He was sanctioned by the U.S. over his involvement in the mass execution of Iranian political prisoners in the 1980s. Raisi’s ascendency to president puts hardliners firmly in control across the Iran’s government as the nuclear…