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Iran's president-elect defends himself over 1988 executions

Iran's president-elect has called himself “a defender of human rights” after being asked directly about his involvement in the 1988 mass executions of some 5,000 people.

Ebrahim Raisi made the comment Monday in a news conference with journalists, his first since winning Friday's election in a landslide.

Raisi was part of a so-called “death panel” that sentenced political prisoners to death at the end of the 1980s Iran-Iraq war.

Iran's new President-elect Ebrahim Raisi speaks during a press conference in Tehran, Iran, Monday, June 21, 2021. (AP PhotoVahid Salemi)

Iran's new President-elect Ebrahim Raisi speaks during a press conference in Tehran, Iran, Monday, June 21, 2021. (AP PhotoVahid Salemi)