“Iran under Ibrahim Raisi”, a webinar of Center for Asian and Chinese Studies
Islam News – Beirut – Center for Asian and Chinese studies (CACS) organized a virtual seminar on zoom entitled “Iran under the Presidency of Ibrahim Raisi… internal and external policies” on June 25, 2021 in Beirut. A number of Iranian, Lebanese and Arab researchers participated in this virtual seminar.
The Jordanian journalist Faten Sleiman began the Seminar by welcoming the participants and the attendees. Then, she talked about the decline in the participation in the Iranian presidential elections in comparison to their previous one due to the boycott of voting by part of the reformers after eliminating most of the prominent candidates.
Next, the Lebanese researcher, Hassan Saab, talked about “Ibrahim Raisi between centrism and Hezbollah”. He claimed that the analysis and opinions about the truth of the new political orientation that the powerful Iranian president would commit to it is different on both internal and external aspects.
And he explained that the main reason for this difference in observing the Raisi’s future orientation is implemented in his mysterious personality to some extent to declare his intellectual or political affiliation as it is the case for the preceding presidential candidates, who they affiliated to one of the major camps in the country and renowned as conservatives and reformers all along the previous election cycle.
Saab also added, the methodological approach of the new president can be identified on both intellectual and political levels among the following titles:
First, reviving the “pure” revolutionary propositions of the former supreme leader Imam Al-Khomeini and the current supreme leader Ali Khamenei about the complete independence of the country from the East and West. Also, committing to Islam as described as the divine constitution of which the Iranian agreed on since the conquer of the Islamic Revolution, and of which presents solutions for all problems and crises with observation to local and international changes and its various impacts.
Second, along these two lines the Raisi will work on executing huge projects and programs that contribute in developing the country, prospering the economy, limit the unemployment rate among the country’s youth classes, combating corruption and inflation, and many more of relevant issues as he plagued during his campaign.
Third, the Raisi will endeavor to improve Iran’s relation with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and others based on the regional security protection base and securing common interests in parallel with enhancing the existing relations with Turkey, Qatar, Iraq, and Syria. Moreover, he seeks to activate the Iranian support for the Resistance Forces in Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen in order to escalate pressures on the American Administration to continue its (supposed) military withdrawal from the territory of which would entail regression for its ally -Israel- in countering Iran and axis of resistance.
Forth, for what it is concerned with the Nuclear Deal with the Western countries, the Raisi seems – with the approval of Al Khamenei and the command of the “Islamic Revolutionary Guard Cops” – to pursue in accomplishing a successful nuclear deal that does not affect Iran’s peaceful nuclear gains and its missile capabilities, and neither its alliance in the region in case the agreement isn’t signed within the last weeks of Rouhani’s rule and so not drowning in compensations for a long time. But rather, he prefers to focus on executing the announced plans and programs to prosper the Iranian economy under the hypothesis of failing the compensations in Vienna and persisting American and Western Sanctions on Iran.
The political researcher and analyst in Iranian affairs, Rida Ghrabi, spoke from Tehran, about “Iran post electing Raisi”. He said that the challenges the President Ibrahim Raisi is facing can be classified into internal and external challenges.
He also claimed that the efficient ministerial structure forms the primary challenge. Furthermore, he said that the Raisi should enhance people’s confidence in the political regime after suffering from gaps that happened for several reasons. Part of it is related to Rouhani’s government and its economic policies. Another part goes back to rejection of nominating some reformers candidates.
Fighting corruption is another important challenge to get rid of this rooted lesion in the administration.
Among other challenges is to reduce the increasing inflation and to improve the Iranian currency after its hard fall. In addition, stock market should be boosted as well as the production process.
As for what is concerned with the external policies, the nuclear negotiations, and reaching an agreement to lift the sanctions are presented to be a huge challenge for the new president.
The Iranian journalist and political analyst, Mohamad Mazhari, talked about “Raisi’s policy towards the neighboring country”. First, we should study the bold lines and the general policies the president will adopt with the region, the neighboring countries, and the world as Mazhari suggested.
He also added, the president elect – on contrary to the stern media – is not an extremist figure and is not seeking for new tensions in the international relations.
Furthermore, Mazhari excluded any radical changes in Iran’s orientation. However, it will go more towards the east while maintaining its relation with the west. Not to mention that Iran’s orientation towards the east is not a new strategy; hence, it began in Rouhani’s era, but didn’t work due to the imposed sanctions.
Dr. Tarek Abboud – a Lebanese researcher and Professor – talked about the “Raisi and the development challenge and anti-corruption”. He claimed that the two most pressing challenges for the president elect are the economy and the corruption. Raisi is seen as the only one capable of collecting the support of different political camps of the hardcore reformers and conservatives “the fundamentalists”.
By pointing at the transformation in the current situation that requires the support from all segments, Abboud explained that the Raisi is capable of making difference, untie the contract, thus overcome the obstacles.
According to experts, one of the corruption issues is the improper management of the country’s financial resources, especially that some organizations receive offsets that don’t deserve through nepotism.
Moreover, the sanctions built a base for the corruption, according to monitors, since bypassing it requires unrecognizable ways that reduces transparency as it burdens the economy with additional import and export costs valued at 16 billion dollars, in accordance to the former chairman of the central bank.
Then, the head of the Center for Asian and Chinese studies, Dr. Haytham Mouzahem, talked about “the obstacles of reviving the Iranian Nuclear Deal”. He said, based on what the two sides – America and Iran – finally announced, there are some conflicts about major issues in Vienna talks concerning the return to the nuclear deal in 2015. This includes the steps Iran should take to return to the full commitment in the agreements’ terms.
Tehran is demanding America to lift the sanctions imposed by the former president Donald Trump’s administration before its withdrawal the steps it took to abandon full compliance with the agreement. However, Washington wants to leave some sanctions, especially the ones related to terrorism in order to place pressure on Iran in the next negotiations regarding Iran’s regional role and the ballistic missiles in case it earns them.
Later, the Egyptian professor and researcher in Chinese affairs – Dr. Nadia Helmy – tackled the “Arab-Iranian relations and the Chinese role in managing the Gulf-Iranian dialogue. She stated that the tensed relations between the Gulf and Iran is considered to be one of the great issues the Gulf Cooperation Council countries is facing.
The researcher also noticed that the platform of the Chinese dialogue between the Gulf and Iran can play a major role as this Gulf-Iranian relation platform takes into consideration various aspects. The most important ones are: the Iranian Nuclear Deal with the west, Tehran logistics role in Syria, Iran’s role in Lebanon by supporting Hezbollah, the entanglement of Iran’s role with the Gulf’s role – mainly Saudi Arabia – in the Yemen crisis, the conflict between Tehran and Riyadh in Yemen, in addition to the Iranian opposition against the Saudi Arabia to lead an Arab military alliance in Yemen, thus Saudi’s accusations against Iran in supporting “Ansarallah”, and the Gulf accusations towards it for sneaking inside Lebanese Government entities through Hezbollah.
Translated by Rayan Haidar.