Israel has said the international community should have grave concerns about the election of Iran’s new president-elect, Ebrahim Raisi.
Raisi was declared the winner of Iran’s presidential election on Saturday, in a race that was widely seen as being designed to favour him.
Reacting to the election, Israel said Raisi is the Persian nation’s 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, who will be inaugurated in August, is Iran’s top judge and holds ultra-conservative views. He is under US sanctions and has been linked to past executions of political prisoners.
In a statement following his victory, he promised to strengthen public trust in the government, and be a leader for the entire nation.
Iran and Israel have been in a long-running “shadow war”, which has resulted in both countries taking part in tit-for-tat actions, but so far avoiding all-out conflict. Recently, however, the hostilities between the two have escalated again.
The situation is complex, but one big source of tension is Iran’s nuclear activities.
Iran blames Israel for the murder of its top nuclear scientist last year and an attack on one of its uranium enrichment plants in April.
The 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which saw harsh penalties lifted on Iran as long as it stopped some nuclear work, collapsed when former US President Donald Trump abandoned the deal in 2018, and re-imposed the crippling economic sanctions. The Biden administration is now trying to work out a way to re-enter the deal.
In response to the sanctions being tightened, Iran stepped up its nuclear activities, and is currently enriching uranium at its highest levels ever – although still short of what is needed to make nuclear-grade weapons.