PM Modi congratulates Iran's new president Ebrahim Raisi on poll victory
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday congratulated Iran's new president Ebrahim Raisi and vowed to work with him to strengthen diplomatic ties between the two countries. "Congratulations to Ebrahim Raisi on his election as President of Iran. I look forward to working with him to further strengthen the warm ties between India and Iran," Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted from his official handle on the social networking site.
Raisi, the 60-year-old hardliner judge touted as an "ultraconservative champion of the poor", was named the winner of the Islamic republic's presidential election on Saturday. He is set to take over from moderate Hassan Rouhani in August. The Iranian interior ministry confirmed on Saturday that Raisi won 61.95% of the vote on a voter turnout of 48.8% - the lowest turnout for a presidential election since the 1979 revolution.
Raisi got 28,933,004 votes, while former Revolutionary Guard commander Mohsen Rezaei finished third with 3,412,712 votes and was followed by moderate candidate Abdolnasswer Hemmati with 2,427,201 votes, and conservative Amir Hossein Ghazizadeh Hashemi with 999,718 votes.
Critics charge the election was skewed in his favour as strong rivals were disqualified, but to his loyal supporters, he is Iran's best hope for standing up to the West and bringing relief from a deep economic crisis. Raisi is not renowned for great charisma but, as head of the judiciary, has driven a popular campaign to prosecute corrupt officials.
On the other hand, Israel's recently-elected prime minister Naftali Bennett called the election of Ebrahim Raisi as Iran's president a "final wake-up call" for the world, according to reports. He pointed out that Raisi is a hardline judge who is under US sanctions for human rights abuses, noting that world powers should reconsider talks on a new Iranian nuclear deal.
(With inputs from agencies)