Ebrahim Raisi became the new president of Iran – unsurprisingly, in an election in which no serious challenger was accepted. A man of the apparatus, without charisma, Raisi has held key positions in the country’s judiciary for several decades and is jointly responsible for the repression. However, the establishment is relying on him to try to extricate Iran from its deep economic crisis – and the Islamic regime out of its acute crisis of legitimacy.
The first to congratulate my president was Hassan Rouhani, the former president. Rouhani promised a lot and kept very little. The millions who voted for the “reformer” in the last elections twice in the hope of opening up were deeply disappointed.
However, the resigning president is not the main culprit of the crisis. Donald Trump helped dismantle the moderate camp around Rouhani. In 2018, he breached the international nuclear agreement and imposed economic sanctions on Iran with unprecedented severity. With the intention of bringing the Islamic regime to its knees. The currency collapsed and millions of people became unemployed. order remained. But Rouhani, who had hoped to link the global economy with the nuclear deal, was mocked by hardliners in Iran as “naive” and blamed for all the country’s evils.
Large parts of Iran’s economy are under the control of the Revolutionary Guards or religious institutions, for which the revolutionary leader Khamenei is solely responsible. The economy is also being eroded by massive corruption. In this opaque system, it is not the president but the revolutionary leader who controls all the leads. My main one is his loyal followers.
The challenges ahead for the 60-year-old are enormous. The boys wonder how they can find a job, raise a family, and any prospects at all. Slogans of futile battles and Islamic moral codes will not help. The conservative cleric promised during the election campaign that he would fight rampant corruption and for social justice. New forms of international cooperation will also be needed if Iran is to find its way out of trouble, despite all its ideological hostility toward the West.
Raisi indicated that he would not undermine the ongoing negotiations in Vienna on returning to the nuclear agreement. Lifting some economic sanctions would bring much-needed relief. The “Islamic Republic” regime will remain trapped in its internal contradictions under the new, pro-line prime minister. However, hardliners will no longer be able to blame the situation: last year he won the most votes in parliamentary elections – and now all state institutions, elected and unelected, are under their control.
Schulkman’s foreign affairs editor was a longtime Middle East correspondent for SRF Radio. Prior to working in the Middle East, he was a correspondent in Paris and director of the magazine “Echo der Zeit”.