1 of 5 | Iranian religious leader Ali khamenei hands over the presidential precept to new Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi (R) during a ceremony Tuesday in Tehran, Iran. Photo courtesy Iranian Supreme Leader Office/EPA-EFE
Aug. 3 (UPI) -- Iran's next president, Ebrahim Raisi, was formally endorsed on Tuesday by Iranian religious leader Ali Khamenei and took office during a ceremony in Tehran.
Raisi during the ceremony promised to take actions to lift "cruel sanctions" imposed by the United States, and said he would not tie the country's future with the West.
As Iran's eighth president, he also noted that he plans to continue talks with world powers concerning the 2015 nuclear deal. He succeeds Hassan Rouhani, who has led the Islamic nation since 2013.
Raisi, 60, also spoke about comprehensive economic and health plans to help lift Iran from the crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. He also pledged to fight corruption and restore people's trust in government.
Raisi's formal inauguration is scheduled for Thursday. More than 100 officials from 73 countries will attend his inauguration ceremony, including the European Union's top representative in the nuclear talks, Enrique Mora.
Raisi won Iran's presidential election in June after getting 62% of the vote. Critics, however, pointed out that the landslide victory occurred after many top contenders were barred from running.
Election turnout was about 48%, the lowest of any Iranian presidential race since the 1979 revolution.
Raisi is on the U.S. sanctions list for serial human rights violations after openly boasting his role as a member of "the death commission" which oversaw the massacre of more than 30,000 political prisoners in 1988.
Most of those executed, including teenagers and pregnant women, were supporters of the main opposition Mojahedin-e-Khalq.