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Israel ‘alarmed’ by Raisi’s election, mixed reactions elsewhere |

LONDON–Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday called the election of Ebrahim Raisi as Iran’s president a “final wake-up call” for the world, the Ynet news site reported.

Briefing his cabinet, Bennett said that, after the election of Raisi, a hardline judge who is under US sanctions for human rights abuses, world powers should reconsider talks on a new Iranian nuclear deal, according to Ynet.

Israel said Saturday the international community “should be alarmed” by hardliner Ebrahim Raisi’s election as Iranian president because of his commitment to a “rapidly advancing military nuclear program”.

Raisi’s election “makes clear Iran’s true malign intentions, and should prompt grave concern among the international community”, foreign ministry spokesman Lior Haiat wrote on Twitter.

Iran has “elected its most extremist president to date”, he said following Friday’s vote. Raisi is “committed to Iran’s rapidly advancing military nuclear program”.

Israel fiercely opposes the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers that offered its arch-foe Iran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear programme.

Raisi, an ultraconservative cleric, is set to take over at a critical time as Iran seeks to salvage the tattered deal and free itself from punishing US sanctions.

Israel’s newly sworn-in Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has called efforts to revive the deal a “mistake that will give one of the darkest regimes legitimacy”.

Contrasting stances 

Raisi’s victory drew starkly opposed reactions elsewhere, with Russia hailing it as a sign of greater regional stability but a few others condemning it as a farce.

A US State Department spokesperson said the United States regretted Iranians had been denied the chance to vote in a fair election.

“Iranians were denied their right to choose their own leaders in a free and fair electoral process,” said the spokesperson.

Iranian presidential elections (AFP)

But Washington would continue talks over Iran’s nuclear programme, working with allies and partners.

In Russia, President Vladimir Putin said in a message, that Raisi’s election would help develop “constructive bilateral cooperation in many fields and our partnership in international affairs”. He stressed, “Relations between our countries have been traditionally friendly,”

“This responds entirely to the interests of the Russian and Iranian people and goes towards reinforcing regional stability and security,” he said.

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad sent his “warmest congratulations” and wished Raisi “success in his new responsibilities … and steering the country in the face of external pressure”.

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.

The Gulf states of Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates sent congratulatory messages to Raisi, their state news agencies announced.

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