Israel says Iran’s Raisi extreme, committed to nuclear programme

FILE PHOTO: Presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi speaks during a campaign rally in Tehran
FILE PHOTO: Presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi speaks during a campaign rally in Tehran, Iran June 15, 2021. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS

June 19, 2021

By Maayan Lubell

JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Israel on Saturday condemned Iran’s newly-elected president Ebrahim Raisi, saying he was its most extreme president yet and committed to quickly advancing Tehran’s nuclear programme.

“Iran’s new president, known as the Butcher of Tehran, is an extremist responsible for the deaths of thousands of Iranians. He is committed to the regime’s nuclear ambitions and to its campaign of global terror,” Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said on Twitter.

A separate statement from the Israeli Foreign Ministry said Raisi’s election should “prompt grave concern among the international community.”

Israel’s new government, sworn in on Sunday, has said it would object to the revival of a 2015 nuclear deal between world powers and its arch-foe, Iran.

Israel sees a nuclear-armed Iran as an existential threat. Tehran denies seeking nuclear weapons.

Toeing the policy line set by the administration of Israel’s former prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, the foreign ministry said: “More than ever, Iran’s nuclear program must be halted immediately, rolled back entirely and stopped indefinitely.”

“Iran’s ballistic missile program must be dismantled and its global terror campaign vigorously countered by a broad international coalition.”

Raisi, a hardline judge who is under U.S. sanctions for human rights abuses, secured victory as expected on Saturday in Iran’s presidential election after a contest marked by voter apathy over economic hardships and political restrictions.

(Reporting by Maayan LubellEditing by Mark Potter)

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