Morning Briefing - July 09, 2024
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July 08, 2024

Iran elects new president that campaigned to restart nuke talks with the U.S.

By ExchangeMonitor

In Iran’s election run-off Friday, Iran’s citizens voted in a candidate that promised in his campaign to negotiate with the U.S. and Europe on nuclear activities again, media outlets reported.

Masoud Pezeshkian, a lawmaker and heart surgeon, defeated conservative opponent Saeed Jalili narrowly — with only 50% voter turnout nationwide — on the campaign of changing Tehran’s foreign policies, particularly pertaining to the expansion of its nuclear program by enriching uranium to near-weapon-grade levels

The run-off election was held after the previous president, Ebrahim Raisi, died in a helicopter crash in May.

Media and Pezeshkian himself refer to him as a “reformist,” but he still pledges loyalty to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to Financial Times. Iran is an Islamic republic, according to the U.S. State Department, that states all laws and regulations must have a basis in Islam, and has a political system with a “supreme leader” that vets all political leaders, including the president, and holds constitutional authority over the president and judicial structures as well.

In a speech on Saturday, he vowed to lead “all Iranians” and said the government must “move forward with reforms.”

“I have come… to seek lasting peace and tranquility and cooperation in the region, as well as dialogue and constructive interaction with the world,” Pezeshkian said in the speech from Tehran.

Former Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who helped negotiate the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the U.S., threw his support behind Pezeshkian on the website X.

“Iran under President-elect [Pezeshkian] is more unified, resolute, and prepared than ever to tackle its challenges, strengthen its relationships with neighboring countries, and reassert its role in the emerging global order,” Zarif said. “The world must listen and engage with us in mutual respect, equal footing and recognition of Iran’s role in the world.”

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