Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi took the oath of office before parliament on Thursday. At the ceremony in Tehran, Raisi, with a hand on a Quran, read the inauguration oath before adding that he will make Iran stronger and engage with the world.
The 60-year-old Raisi, who is a frontrunner to replace the 82-year-old Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said Iranians want him to maintain the country’s independence and resist foreign bullying.
But he also promised to pursue “diplomacy and constructive and extensive engagement with the world”, reiterating his stance that boosting relations with regional neighbours would be at the top of his foreign policy.
“I extend a hand of friendship and brotherhood to all countries, especially those in the region,” Raisi said.
He told some 260 local and foreign officials present at the chamber that regional crises need to be resolved through dialogue, and the presence of foreign forces only encourages more instability.
Countering rhetoric by the West, Israel and some Arab neighbours, Raisi also asserted that Iran’s presence in the region creates security and supports peace and stability.
He also said harsh US sanctions, imposed in 2018 after then-US President Donald Trump unilaterally abandoned Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal, must be lifted.
“We will support any diplomatic plans that will achieve this goal,” he said, signalling he will continue negotiations in Vienna aimed at restoring the accord.
Moreover, he promised that Iran’s nuclear programme is strictly peaceful and nuclear weapons “have no place in the country’s defence strategy”.
The president tried to convey that he understands the many challenges ahead – including a troubled economy – and said he will try to improve the quality of life for all Iranians.
He further promised to be a “true defender of human rights”, not just in Iran but across the region.