Hardliner Iranian cleric Ebrahim Raisi’s victory on Saturday in a presidential election drew starkly opposed reactions, with Russia hailing a sign of greater regional stability but some condemning it as a farce.

United States

A 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.

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


Foreign ministry spokesman Lior Haiat said on Twitter that Iran has “elected its most extremist president to date”.

Haiat called Raisi “the butcher of Tehran” who “has been rightly denounced by the international community for his direct role in the extrajudicial executions of over 30,000 people”.

Raisi was “committed to Iran’s rapidly advancing military nuclear programme, his election makes clear Iran’s true malign intentions, and should prompt grave concern among the international community”.


“Relations between our countries have been traditionally friendly,” Russian president Vladimir Putin said in a message, saying Raisi’s election would help develop “constructive bilateral cooperation in many fields and our partnership in international affairs”.

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


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


Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said the Palestinian Islamist movement “congratulates” Raisi, adding: “Iran has always been a main, strong and real supporter of the Palestinian resistance and our national cause.”


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.

Iranian opposition

Exiled opposition groups hailed what they termed a “boycott” of the presidential polls, where turnout was 48.8 per cent.

Maryam Rajavi, the leader of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), said the “unprecedented nationwide boycott” had signalled that Iranians had “voted for overthrow of the ruling theocracy”.

The NCRI, in accusations backed by leading human rights groups, says Raisi was part of a commission that sent thousands of jailed opponents to their deaths within a few months in the summer of 1988.

“There is no longer any justification for the international community to deal with, engage, or appease a regime whose president is a notorious criminal against humanity,” said Rajavi.

Gulf and Yemen

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

The senior political leader for Yemen’s Tehran-backed Huthi rebels, Mahdi al-Mashat, also congratulated Raisi.

“The success of these elections in the Islamic republic of Iran is a victory for the Islamic revolution and solidifies the opposition to the American Zionist project,” he said.

Amnesty International

“That Ebrahim Raisi has risen to the presidency instead of being investigated for the crimes against humanity of murder, enforced disappearance and torture, is a grim reminder that impunity reigns supreme in Iran,” Amnesty said.

It called on the UN Human Rights Council’s member states to take “concrete steps to address the crisis of systematic impunity in Iran”.

Amnesty said they should establish “an impartial mechanism to collect and analyse evidence of the most serious crimes under international law committed in Iran to facilitate fair and independent criminal proceedings”.