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Ebrahim Raisi speaking at his swearing-in ceremony at the Iranian parliament in Tehran on Aug. 5. Photo: Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images

Ebrahim Raisi was sworn in as Iran's new president in Tehran on Thursday amid tensions with the West and economic pressure and unrest from U.S. sanctions.

Why it matters: Raisi's four-year presidency solidifies Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's anti-Western hold on all branches of Iran's government and positions Raisi as a leading candidate to succeed Khamenei.

  • Raisi easily won the presidential election last month, though the field was essentially cleared for him after Iran's Guardian Council disqualified all of the leading reformist candidates.
  • He replaces Hassan Rouhani, who was considered a relative moderate.

What he's saying: "In the presence of the holy Quran and before the nation, I swear to the omnipotent God to safeguard the official religion of the country and the Islamic Republic as well as the country’s constitution," Raisi told parliament and foreign dignitaries in a ceremony broadcast live on state television, according to Reuters.

  • "The Iranian people expect the new government to improve their livelihoods," Raisi said after the swearing-in. "All illegal U.S. sanctions against the Iranian nation must be lifted."

The big picture: The U.S. warned Iran after Raisi's victory that his new government would not win more concessions by attempting to renegotiate understandings that were recently agreed to in Vienna on the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal.

  • The talks had been suspended by the Iranians to give Raisi time to assemble his own negotiating team.
  • The U.S. and U.K. blamed Iran for a drone strike on an Israeli-owned oil tanker in the Arabian sea last week, and Israel has threatened to retaliate, according to AP.
  • The U.S. imposed sanctions on Raisi in 2019 for alleged human rights abuses when he was a judge.

Go deeper

Oct 5, 2021 - World

U.S. rules out "goodwill gesture" to get Iran back into negotiations

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian made the request for a "goodwill gesture." Photo: Iranian Foreign Ministry via Getty

The U.S. will not offer Iran concessions just to get nuclear talks restarted, a senior U.S. official told reporters, rejecting an Iranian demand for "a goodwill gesture," such as the release of $10 billion in frozen Iranian funds.

Why it matters: Indirect talks between the U.S. and Iran over a mutual return to the 2015 nuclear deal have been suspended since the Iranian elections in June. There is no set date for talks to resume, but the Iranians have signaled it could happen in early November.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

North Korea claims latest missile test new weapon launched from submarine

North Korean state media claims the country's military fired this missile on Tuesday. Photo: Korean Central News Agency

North Korean state media announced that a detected ballistic missile launch off its east coast on Tuesday was a newly developed weapon test-fired from a submarine.

Why it matters: Pyongyang's latest in a series of recent missile launches into the sea happened hours after U.S. officials emphasized their commitment to restart negotiations on North Korea's nuclear weapons program, which have stalled since talks broke down during the Trump administration, AP notes.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Manchin's massive means test

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is offering progressives a trade: He'll vote for their cherished social programs if they accept strict income caps for the recipients, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Manchin’s plan to use so-called means-testing for everything from paid family medical leave to elder and disabled care would drastically shrink the size and scope of the programs. It also would bring a key moderate vote to the progressive cause.

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