Weekly Regional Brief
Iranian Presidential Elections
Ebrahim Raisi secured the position of Iranian presidential elect after the June 18 elections, which had a 48.8% voter turnout. Raisi is a 60 year old conservative and the current judiciary leader for Iran. He will officially take office in August.
Human rights groups have identified Raisi as a member “of a so-called ‘death commission’ that ordered the disappearance and execution of thousands of prisoners.” On Monday, Raisi responded to these allegations vaguely, maintaining that “everything I’ve done in my time of holding office has been to defend human rights.”
Although he did not always support the JCPOA, he recently has overturned his oppositional stance.
Despite the agreed upon ceasefire, Israel and Hamas are continuing to alternate attacks. When Israeli nationalists participated in a march in east Jerusalem, Hamas launched arson balloons in southern Israel on Tuesday, June 15. Israel then responded by launching airstrikes on Hamas’ military compounds in Khan Younis and Gaza City.
On Friday, June 18, Israeli forces attacked the Al-Aqsa Mosque with “rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades.” A day later, the Palestinian Authority abandoned its agreement to give Israel 1 million COVID vaccines.
Withdrawing Patriot Antimissile Batteries
The United States is withdrawing 8 Patriot antimissile batteries from Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait, and Jordan. This action was in response to the easing tensions with Iran and a general retreat of US defense forces in the Middle East.
Next Week: Israel’s Lapid to Visit the UAE
On June 29, Israeli Prime Minister Lapid will visit the United Arab Emirates, marking the “first-ever visit by a top Israeli diplomat to the Gulf emirate.”
Arabic Sources from the Region
Much has changed since Iran’s last presidential election. The events of the last four years—particularly the sanctions reimposed by former US president Trump and aggressive actions by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps—have had profound implications for Iran’s political landscape. Hardliners have intensified their campaign to further suppress dissent and tighten control over key institutions like the 12-member Constitutional Council, which selected the contenders for the upcoming presidential election. The head of the Iranian Judiciary, Ebrahim Raisi, is widely regarded as the favorite to sweep the presidency on 18 June, as he holds the most prominent position and highest name recognition of the candidates. According to polls, turnout is expected to remain below 50 %, and the election has been boycotted on Iranian social media with hashtags condemning the lack of political freedoms. No reformist or centrist candidates were approved by the Constitutional Council, to the chagrin of moderate parties and citizens alike. Several other hardline candidates were approved because they had little name recognition and supported Raisi’s policies.
This article comes from BBC Arabi, an independent British news source that publishes in Arabic.