Ebrahim Raisi’s mantra was the safety of the folks

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As the helicopter rose via the misting clouds, Ebrahim Raisi stared sombrely out of the window. The view, of the rugged mountains of north-west Iran, ought to have been magnificent. Immediately, there was not a lot to see. And in any case he was not given to smiling. It didn’t swimsuit the black turban he wore, a token of his descent from the Prophet, or his normal black clerical robes, or his skinny glasses. He most popular to seem as what he was, an unbending skilled on sharia regulation, for whom chopping off the fingers of thieves was “one in every of our best honours”.

But he had finished an uncommon quantity of smiling that day, as he inaugurated, with President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, the large Qiz Qalasi dam on the Aras river. It marked a rapprochement between their nations. They’d had their ups and downs, however at this time he had referred to as Mr Aliyev a brother and a pal. Their co-operation, he mentioned, would make their enemies despair.

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