By Reza Sadjadpor
More than a week ago, Iran experienced a peaceful government transition. The new President of Iran, Ayatollah Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi, is the former Chief Justice, and now the eighth president of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Raisi has outlined the programme of his new administration in detail, and stressed both domestic and foreign issues. In the internal domain, his focus is on justice, anti-corruption, and anti-discrimination.
As he mentioned in his inauguration ceremony, "People ask us to fulfil our promise of a government of justice, anti-corruption, anti-discrimination, caring, programme-oriented, and science-seeking.”
Raisi further said: "What the people wanted from the new government was a change. Change is inevitable for the country, and must take place. The government’s programme is change, and is based on the very valuable and lasting document of the Declaration of the Second Step of the Islamic Revolution, which will direct the work of the government.”
Raisi believes that urgent action is needed to solve problems. In the ceremony he vowed: "We have prepared an immediate, short-term transformation plan, in which there are about 10 central issues that the government is facing from today. Issues have been identified, and I assure people that both the issues and the solutions are identified by experts. God willing, this will be pursued strongly, and the issues will be addressed immediately.”
The most urgent programme of the new president is to pour water on the fire of Covid19. While receiving his first dose of the home-grown CovIran Barekat vaccine, Raisi said: “Public vaccination is an unavoidable necessity, and one of the priorities of the government is that we increase the public resistance of the people against this virus and its possible mutations."
Among his internal programmes, the reduction of the cost of living, financial system reform, tax system reform, and increasing transparency, are the top priorities. Raisi stated: "The transformation plan of the government will soon be available to elites, thinkers and experts, and we will benefit from everyone's opinion.
“This plan will be the basis for the implementation of the seventh development plan of the country. We hope that in this transformation plan, all those who are concerned about the country, regardless of their factional or political, ethnic and tribal inclinations, from both university and seminary, will have a role. We are sure that with all the obstacles and problems ahead, there is a way out of these problems, and there is a serious will to solve the problems.”
In terms of foreign affairs, Iran will adhere to all of its previous commitments, including the The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran’s nuclear deal, and talks for its revival.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said about the Vienna talks: "It is very important that we never leave these talks. There is a process of democratic transfer of power in Iran, and naturally, in these processes, there are changes in the executive teams.
"Speaking on the day of his inauguration, and at the first press conference, the President made it clear that action would be taken in the interests of the people to lift the oppressive sanctions. We have to wait for the ministers to be appointed, and this path will surely continue."
Raisi reiterated that he would like to see the lifting of sanctions, and revival of the JCPOA: "The policy of pressure and sanctions will not cause the Iranian people to give up pursuing their legal rights, including the right to development. Sanctions against Iran must be lifted, and we will support any diplomatic plan that achieves this goal.”
The new administration says it is committed to observing human rights.
"We are the true defenders of human rights, and we do not accept silence against oppression and crime, and the violation of the rights of innocent and defenceless human beings.
“Oppression, whether it be in the heart of Europe or in the United States, whether in Africa or Yemen, whether in Syria or Palestine, we will stand by the oppressed. People want their social and cultural freedoms to be pursued diligently,” Raisi said.
Another foreign affairs priority of the Raisi government is to strengthen relations with neighbouring countries, as he extends a hand of friendship and brotherhood to all countries in the region, especially Iran’s neighbours.
"We consider the promotion of relations with neighbouring countries as the most important and main priority of our foreign policy, and we favour their dignity and excellence. Diplomacy must strengthen the bonds among nations of the region and strengthen their common ground in the fields of economy, culture, science and technology,” he said.
Raisi believes in close ties with African countries.
“Tehran will pursue comprehensive development of relations with African countries,” he said in his meeting with the Speaker of the National Assembly of South Africa Thandi Modise. He stressed the importance of relations between South Africa and Iran.
* Reza Sajadpor is a freelance writer.