‘Butcher of Tehran’ sworn in as Iran’s President as tensions with West escalate
Iran: Uranium stockpile found to be '16 times over limit'
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And Mr Raisi – who is tipped by some to be the man most likely to replace Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as Supreme Leader eventually – today threw down the gauntlet by vowing to ensure the lifting of what he termed “tyrannical” sanctions imposed on his country by the United States. Mr Khamenei will officially confirm Ebrahim Raisi as the Islamic Republic’s new president in a ceremony on August 3, marking the end of Hassan Rouhani’s government.
Both Mr Khamenei and Mr Raisi are due to deliver speeches in the televised event, which will formally approve his presidency, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.
A swearing-in ceremony will take place on August 5, during which Mr Raisi is expected to unveil his proposed cabinet, including his choices for minister of foreign affairs and minister of petroleum.
Mr Raisi, which is personally subject to US sanctions as a result of alleged human rights abuses, was dubbed the Butcher of Tehran in reference to his role as a prosecutor after the 1979 revolution which saw the Shah of Iran replaced by an Islamic fundamentalist regime.
He is blamed for torturing and murdering thousands of dissidents who criticised then-Supreme Leader Ayatollah Sayyid Khomeini.
Speaking yesterday, Israel’s defence minister Benny Gantz said: “Iran, under the ‘hangman’ Raisi, who will take office this week, will be more dangerous to the world than it has been so far, more destructive to the region than it has been so far, and will strive to become an existential threat to Israel.
“We will act to remove any such threat.
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“Israel possesses a variety of tools and options to protect its citizens, and we will hold accountable anyone who seeks to harm us, in the time, place and methods that serve us and our security.”
Former US President Donald Trump ditched Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with six powers three years ago and reimposed sanctions that have devastated Iran’s economy.
In a speech televised today, Mr Raisi said: “We will seek to lift the tyrannical sanctions imposed by America.
Iran and six powers have been in talks since April to revive the nuclear pact – but Iranian and Western officials have said that significant gaps remain.
The Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has the last word on all matters of state, but the change of president will remove the moderating influence on policy-making exercised by Raisi’s pragmatist predecessor, Hassan Rouhani, since 2013.
The drone attack on the Mercer Street at the weekend claimed the lives of one UK citizen and one Romanian citizen.
The vessel is owned by Japan and flies under the Liberian flag – but is managed by Zodiac Maritime, owned by Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab yesterday pinned the blame squarely on Tehran for the drone strike.
He said: “The UK condemns the unlawful and callous attack committed on a merchant vessel off the coast of Oman, which killed a British and a Romanian national.
“We believe this attack was deliberate, targeted, and a clear violation of international law by Iran.”
He added: “UK assessments have concluded that it is highly likely that Iran attacked the MV Mercer Street in international waters using one or more unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
“Iran must end such attacks, and vessels must be allowed to navigate freely in accordance with international law.
“The UK is working with our international partners on a concerted response to this unacceptable attack.”
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