For WORLD Radio, I'm Kent Covington.
Hard-line cleric wins presidency in Iran » A hard-line cleric will be Iran’s next president.
Judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi won the presidential election in a landslide amid the lowest voter turnout in the nation’s history.
But U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan says when it comes to nuclear talks with the West, it hardly matters who Iran’s president is.
SULLIVAN: The person who will call the shots on Iran’s nuclear program is not Raisi. It’s the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.
Raisi is the supreme leader's protege.
The United States has sanctioned him in the past for human rights violations stemming from his involvement in the mass execution of political prisoners.
Saturday’s election became more of a coronation after his strongest competitors found themselves disqualified from running. That sparked calls for a boycott and many, it seems, did stay home. Out of more than 59 million eligible voters, only about 29 million voted.
On Sunday, top diplomats in Vienna said they’ve made more progress toward restoring the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.
The Biden administration hopes to rejoin the pact after President Trump pulled the plug on it in 2018. But many Republicans, like Sen. Lindsey Graham, continue to warn against it.
GRAHAM: The ayatollah is a religious nazi. He controls the place. Religious zealots run the place. Why in the world do you want to give massive enrichment capability to the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world? I don’t know.
Israel's new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is also warning against it. In his first Cabinet meeting on Sunday, he slammed Iran's newly elected president and called on world powers to “wake up” to the perils of returning to the nuclear deal.
VA to begin paying for gender transition surgeries » The Biden administration plans to begin using taxpayer dollars for gender transition surgeries for veterans.
Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough announced the plans at an LGBT pride event over the weekend.
It could take years for the government to install the new regulations and rules that will govern the use of VA benefits for such surgeries.
McDonough said his agency will spend the next few years building the—quote—“capacity to meet the surgical needs.”
Storm claims 12 lives in Ala., continues trek toward Atlantic » Tropical Depression Claudette claimed 12 lives in Alabama over the weekend as the storm swept across the southeast, spurring tornadoes. Jason Holmes with the National Weather Service said heavy rain triggered flash flooding.
HOLMES: We had two reports; one was over 7 inches. And we also had another report that was closer to 9 inches.
Ten people, including nine children, were killed Saturday in a 15-vehicle crash south of Montgomery on Interstate 65. A van belonging to a youth ranch was involved in the accident on the rain-soaked highway.
The storm pushed into Georgia and South Carolina on Sunday. And Eric Blake with the National Hurricane Center says it continues to trek toward the Atlantic where the storm’s expected to strengthen.
BLAKE: We do expect it to become a tropical storm again in the vicinity of eastern North Carolina. And tropical storm watches are in effect for much of eastern North Carolina.
Flash flood watches were posted Sunday for parts of Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and the Carolinas.
Heat wave continues to bake southwestern U.S. » Meantime, states in the southwest are praying for rain as a dangerous heat wave continues to bake the region.
High temperature marks didn’t fall over the weekend as feared. But Phoenix did set a record for consecutive 115-degree days. Saturday marked the fifth day in a row that the city hit 115.
And meteorologist Lara Pagano says Tuscon, Ariz. has been well over a hundred degrees for more than a week.
PAGANO: 110 so far was in Tuscon, Ariz. That’s the eighth day in a row of 110.
The extreme heat is fueling a wildfire in Arizona that started late Wednesday and grew by Saturday to nearly 27 square miles between Phoenix and Flagstaff.
Officials ordered evacuations over the weekend while aircraft and about 100 firefighters battled the blaze.
I'm Kent Covington. For more news, features, and analysis, visit us at wng.org.
WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.