Iran’s hard-line population elected a radical man, known as the “butcher of Tehran” to be the Shi’ite nation’s next president. Ebrahim Raisi won the elections which were held recently and has become President-elect of Iran who would be succeeding Hassan Rouhani. Ebrahim Raisi is an Islamist who is known to hate all non-Muslims. Such is the toxic fundamentalism of Raisi that he even abhors Sunni Muslims. Raisi aims to establish Iran as the centre and undisputed leader of the Muslim world, and the Saudi-led Arab World is an eyesore for the President-elect.
Ebrahim Raisi hates Jews from the very core of his heart. He wishes to destroy Israel and erase it from the face of the world. Raisi also hates Christians, which is why his hatred for Europe and the United States comes so naturally. Till the time Hassan Rouhani was in power, the United States was hoping to finalise a revival of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) of 2015, or what is more commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal. With Raisi in charge, a resuscitation of the nuclear deal seems a near impossibility now.
Ebrahim Raisi does not seem interested to revive the nuclear deal which Donald Trump withdrew from. Raisi’s agenda is polarly different to that of his predecessors, and possibly, even more radical than Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei himself. Raisi will develop a nuclear bomb for Iran – by hook or by crook. A nuclear deal is nothing more than a piece of paper for the new President of Iran and will have no bearing on Iran’s military nuclear programme.
For Iran, the nuclear deal is not something that it is planning to follow, but it is a strong bargaining tool to get Western sanctions lifted. The West, led by the Biden administration, assumes that Iran will follow the terms of the deal and stop pursuing a nuclear bomb, but as has already been proved by Donald Trump, Iran will never follow the deal, and would only sign the deal in the first place so that sanctions are lifted. So as long as the Biden administration does not offer a sanctions waiver, Iran has nothing to gain from the deal. But no matter how badly the new US administration is inclined to do the deal, lifting sanctions on Iran in return will not just be a strategic blunder but would also mean political suicide for the Biden administration. Iran knows this, and therefore, Ebrahim Raisi may not be deeply committed to renegotiate and close the deal at all.
Ebrahim Raisi is conscious of the fact that he needs to rescue the Iranian economy – which has been obliterated by stringent American sanctions. For that, he might be willing to go as far as creating a mirage of nuclear compliance for the United States and other nuclear deal signatories. However, much like the 2015 deal – which failed to ensure that Iran’s military nuclear programme is halted, the new deal – if agreed upon, will not prevent Raisi from arming his country with nuclear weapons.
In his first public comments after being elected, Raisi brushed aside the US’ calls for Iran to agree to follow-on discussions on expanding the initial nuclear deal to include its ballistic missile program and its support for regional groups that the US designates as terrorist organisations. He said the ballistic nuclear programme and support for terror organisations are “non-negotiable”. This shows how Raisi is least interested to woo America and is instead determined to fulfil his larger toxic religious agenda.
As explained by TFI earlier, the Iranian regime might very well be deceiving the world. And with Raisi in charge, negotiations will definitely be delayed. Effectively, until a deal is signed, Iran will continue working towards the nuclear bomb, thereby reducing its “breakout time” if and when a deal is finally reached, or not. Then, Iran will be able to surprise the world with a blast at a time of its own choosing.
This is in line with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s warning two weeks ago that if agreements to rein in the Iranian nuclear programme are not reached soon, Iran’s “breakout time” might be reduced to a matter of weeks. “Breakout time” refers to the amount of time Tehran would need to enrich enough uranium to create a nuclear bomb.
With Raisi now all set to become the Iranian President, Iran’s determination to not cede any concessions will be emboldened. And while the Biden administration plays a game of tug of war with Iran, the Shi’ite nation can simply use this time and produce the weapons it has desired for so long. Ebrahim Raisi has a supremacist agenda, which will not be shaken by whether the US lifts sanctions or not. Iran will go ahead and pursue its geopolitical goals ruthlessly under Ebrahim Raisi.
Ebrahim Raisi is not accountable to the people of Iran. In an election where the turnout was just 48 per cent, only Iranian hardliners voted for Ebrahim Raisi. And those who voted for him are fanatics in their own right – who are least interested in the economic revival of their country. This makes it easier for Raisi to cold shoulder the economic woes of Iran and focus solely on the country’s military programmes and goals.