Iran Elects Hardline Cleric Linked to Mass Killings as President

Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty
Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty
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An ultraconservative cleric linked to the mass execution of political prisoners has been elected Iran’s new president. Ebrahim Raisi, the country’s judiciary chief who has been rumored to be a potential successor to the Ayatollah, emerged victorious in a controversial election in which critics say moderate candidates were purged. Turnout was low—48 percent, according to election officials—as many voters saw the election of a hardliner as a foregone conclusion. Raisi, who is under U.S. sanctions, will replace president Hassan Rouhani at a time of heightened tensions with the West and Israel. Human-rights groups have called for Raisi to be investigated for his “crimes against humanity,” including his reported involvement in death panels that executed thousands of political prisoners in the ’80s after the Iran-Iraq war. Iran has never totally acknowledged the mass killings.

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