PARIS (AFP) – Hardliner Iranian cleric Ebrahim Raisi’s victory on Saturday (June 19) in a presidential election has drawn mixed reactions, with Russia hailing it as a sign of greater regional stability but others decrying it as a farce.
“Relations between our countries have been traditionally friendly,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a message, saying Raisi’s election would help develop “constructive bilateral cooperation in many fields and our partnership in international affairs”.
“This responds entirely to the interests of the Russian and Iranian people and goes towards reinforcing regional stability and security,” he said.
President Bashir al-Assad sent his “warmest congratulations” and wished Raisi “success in his new responsibilities… and steering the country in the face of external pressure.”
Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said the Palestinian Islamist movement “congratulates” Raisi, adding: “Iran has always been a main, strong and real supporter of the Palestinian resistance and our national cause.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan congratulated Raisi, expressing the hope it would be beneficial for the Iranian people.
Erdogan said he believed “cooperation between our two countries would be strengthened further” and added that he was ready to work with Raisi.
Exiled opposition groups hailed what they termed a “boycott” of the presidential polls, where turnout was 48.8 per cent.
Maryam Rajavi, the leader of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), said the “unprecedented nationwide boycott” had signalled that Iranians had “voted for overthrow of the ruling theocracy”.
The NCRI, in accusations backed by leading human rights groups, says Raisi was part of a commission that sent thousands of jailed opponents to their deaths within a few months in the summer of 1988.
“There is no longer any justification for the international community to deal with, engage, or appease a regime whose president is a notorious criminal against humanity,” said Rajavi.
The UAE leaders all sent congratulatory messages to Raisi, the government said.
“That Ebrahim Raisi has risen to the presidency instead of being investigated for the crimes against humanity of murder, enforced disappearance and torture, is a grim reminder that impunity reigns supreme in Iran,” Amnesty said.
It called on the UN Human Rights Council’s member states to take “concrete steps to address the crisis of systematic impunity in Iran”.
Amnesty said they should establish “an impartial mechanism to collect and analyse evidence of the most serious crimes under international law committed in Iran to facilitate fair and independent criminal proceedings”.