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JERUSALEM, June 20 (Reuters) – Israel on Sunday condemned the election of hard-line judge Ebrahim Raisi to the Iranian presidency, saying it would be a “brutal executioner regime” with which world powers should not negotiate a new nuclear deal.
Raisi, who faces US sanctions for human rights violations, claimed victory in Iran’s presidential election on Saturday after a contest marked by voter apathy in the face of economic hardship and political restrictions.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, calling his first televised cabinet session since taking office last week, described Raisi’s rise as permitted by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, rather than a free vote and popular.
“The election of Raisi is, I would say, the last chance for the world powers to wake up before going back to the nuclear deal and understanding who they are dealing with,” Bennett said in a statement he read. first in Hebrew then in English. .
“A regime of brutal executioners should never be allowed to have weapons of mass destruction,” he said. “Israel’s position will not change on this.”
Raisi has never publicly addressed allegations about his role in what Washington and rights groups called the extrajudicial killings of thousands of political prisoners in 1988.
Bennett, a nationalist at the top of a multi-party coalition, weighed in on the opposition of his conservative predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which Israel deemed too lax on the ceilings of projects with potential for bomb making.
The former US administration of Donald Trump agreed with Israel and abandoned the deal. Current President Joe Biden wants the United States back to the deal. Iran denies having searched for nuclear weapons.