Did U.S. Push Iran to Right? Hard-Line Cleric Wins Presidency; Nuclear Talks in Vienna Show Promise

Hard-line cleric Ebrahim Raisi won the Iranian presidential election with about 62% of the vote. Raisi has headed Iran’s judiciary since 2019 and is seen as a protégé and possible successor of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Turnout in the election was just 49% — the lowest since the 1979 Iranian revolution — and dozens of candidates were barred from running in the election, including former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Raisi appears to “have higher ambitions than just [the] presidency,” says Nega Mortazavi, an Iranian American journalist and host of “The Iran Podcast.” “He is preparing to be a potential successor to the supreme leader,” Mortazavi says. “The hard-liners tried to disqualify any serious moderate or reformist rival to Ebrahim Raisi to clear a path to victory for him.”

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