(New York, N.Y.) – On Friday, Iranians voted to elect hardline cleric and current Chief Justice Ebrahim Raisi the next President of the Islamic Republic of Iran in a contest thoroughly manipulated by Iran’s Guardian Council to suit the desires of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Though verifiable data on turnout is unavailable, reports from media in Iran suggest that turnout to the polls were at an all-time low, reflecting the broad disillusionment with the regime’s control.
Raisi will take office on August 3. United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI)’s senior leadership and advisory board members had the following reactions.
UANI Chairman Senator Joseph I. Lieberman
“With the election of hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi, the United States must be ready to provide even greater pressure on the Iranian regime. Ayatollah Khamenei has installed his hand-picked candidate in a sham election. Raisi makes Iran more dangerous, more untrustworthy, and more deserving of a new level of pressure to end its malign behavior.”
UANI CEO Ambassador Mark D. Wallace
“By the design of Ayatollah Khamenei, the rise of Ebrahim Raisi to the Iranian presidency further entrenches hardline control over all Iran’s key levers of power. Under a Raisi presidency, more extreme aggression and intransigence can be expected, particularly as Raisi angles to demonstrate his bona fides as the heir apparent to Khamenei. The Biden Administration should gird itself to defend against a strong, deep bench of Khamenei-esque hardliners eager to undermine any accord that restores the JCPOA inked before the next Iranian administration takes office.”
UANI Advisory Board Member Ambassador John R. Bolton
“It is critical that President Biden and negotiators representing the United States remember that their respective Iranian counterparts do not have clear control or authority of the scope of Iran’s nuclear program, its pace, or how transparent it will be with the IAEA. That power lies only with Ayatollah Khamenei. Ebrahim Raisi is simply his willing handmaiden. It is urgent that we strip the Iranian regime of any notion that America will fail to hold the regime fully accountable for its ever-more extreme manifestations of violence and intimidation – all of which will undoubtedly continue under a President Raisi.”
UANI Advisory Board Member Ambassador Nikki Haley
“Iran's election is a sham. The winner is a puppet of the ayatollahs -- and a killer and oppressor. The outcome doesn't change what the Iranian regime is, or what it wants. It is a dictatorship that denies human rights and destroys innocent lives, and it's bent on threatening America and our allies. President Biden's response to the election should be to ramp up pressure on Iran and its rulers. Anything less will injure our interests and endanger our allies.”
UANI Advisory Board Member Ambassador Giulio Terzi
“European leaders pushing for economic sanctions to be loosened and business to return to the Islamic Republic should be shaken by the election of Iran’s hanging judge to the presidency, and the lengths that the regime went to in clearing his path to victory. Ebrahim Raisi is not a viable partner for Europe. In fact, he and the Supreme Leader are forces to be confronted in the name of our values and security. It is time to take a step back from the negotiating table in Geneva and absorb what Tehran is telling us about its intentions moving forward.”
UANI Advisory Board Member Norman T. Roule, former U.S. National Intelligence Manager for Iran at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence
“An Ebrahim Raisi presidency means that the risk to innocent life throughout the region is growing. As a strong ally of the Supreme Leader, we should expect Raisi will enable Iran’s proxy militias in Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq, and for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to continue consolidating its grip on power.
“This election was about one thing for Ali Khamenei: protecting his legacy and the hardline ideological foundations of the Islamic Republic. The international community must understand the limitations of diplomacy alone to influence a system which is sustained by anti-Americanism, anti-Westernism, and the export of violent revolution.
“Whether or not a new nuclear deal occurs, the election of Raisi means that international companies will continue to face significant reputational risk in dealing with Iran. Tehran’s domestic human rights crimes and its support for terrorism and proxy groups will virtually guarantee further sanctions that will place at risk any foreign investment in Iran.”
UANI Advisory Board Member Barry Rosen, Survivor of the Iran Hostage Crisis
“I know men like Ebrahim Raisi, a man best known for overseeing the execution of thousands of political prisoners, and I know, too, that millions of Iranians are mourning their nation’s slide into deeper reaches of depravity. Today, I am also thinking of the Americans who are currently being held hostage – perhaps in one of Raisi’s prisons – and their families, and the resolve the Biden Administration must show in securing their release. Every day they are held is a day in which their lives are at risk. Returning all of the hostages needs to be a nonnegotiable point in Geneva.”
UANI’s resource, Ebrahim Raisi: Chief Justice Of Iran, explores Raisi’s decades-long rise within Iran’s judicial system in greater detail, chronicling his role at the forefront of the regime’s systemic human rights abuses.
To read UANI’s resource, Ebrahim Raisi: Chief Justice Of Iran, please click here.