TEHRAN -- Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei will officially confirm Ebrahim Raisi as the Islamic Republic’s new president in a ceremony on Tuesday, marking the end of Hassan Rouhani’s government. Both Ayatollah Khamenei and Raisi are scheduled to give speeches in the televised event that will formally approve his presidency. A swearing-in ceremony will take place on Aug. 5, during which Raisi is expected to present his proposed cabinet, including his picks for minister of foreign affairs and minister of petroleum. Raisi has said he intends to continue negotiations with world powers to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, which have been put on hold until he takes office, but has signaled that he won’t make the issue the centerpiece of his foreign policy. Iran’s economic problems amid the most draconian American sanctions will be the new president’s greatest challenge, according to Clement Therme, a researcher at the European University Institute in Italy. “His main objective will be to improve the economic situation by reinforcing the Islamic Republic’s economic relations with neighboring countries,” Therme told AFP. “The goal would be to build a business model that would protect Iran’s economic growth from American policies and decisions.” Therme believes Raisi’s main priority will be to “remove U.S. sanctions” so Iran can bolster trade with its neighbors and non-Western countries such as China and Russia. The 2015 deal saw Iran accept curbs on its peaceful nuclear energy program in return for an easing of sanctions. But former U.S. president Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the accord three years later and ramped up sanctions again, prompting Tehran to pull back from most of its nuclear commitments. Trump’s successor Joe Biden has signaled his readiness to return to the deal but he has been apt to retain the main gamut of the coercive measures as leverage against the Islamic Republic as formal talks with the agreement’s remaining parties -- Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia – have gone on for months in Vienna. The U.S. sanctions choked Iran, including by seeking to stop its oil exports, and the economy contracted by more than six percent in both 2018 and 2019. This was a blow to Rouhani who had sought to liberalize the economy and develop the private sector. The policy has drawn a lot of criticism among many Iranians who believe the outgoing administration wasted much of its time on chasing untrustworthy Europeans instead of relying on domestic capabilities. “In this government, it was shown up that trust in the West does not work,” Ayatollah Khamenei told President Hassan Rouhani and members of his cabinet in a farewell meeting this week. “Others should use your experiences. This experience is a distrust of the West,” the Leader said. Ayatollah Khamenei said Washington is “stubborn” and insists on adding a sentence to the existing nuclear deal. “By adding this sentence, they want to provide an excuse for their further interventions on the nuclear deal and (Iran’s) missile work and regional issues,” the Leader said. “Then if we refuse to discuss those issues, Americans will accuse Iran of violating the nuclear deal and they will say the agreement is over.” The Leader charted out the path for the next administration, saying domestic programs should in no way be tied to Western states under any circumstances due to the proven failure of such an approach. “Wherever you tied your work to the West, you failed, and wherever you rose and moved forward without trusting the West, you succeeded,” the Leader said. “Whenever you postponed issues with agreements with the West or negotiations with the West and America and the like, you were stuck and could not progress,” the Leader said. “Because they don’t help. They are the enemy after all.” The economic problem has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic amid the U.S. sanctions which has disrupted Iran’s access to medical equipment and healthcare necessities. Raisi himself has already said he will not negotiate with the other parties to the nuclear deal, and indirectly with the U.S., just for the sake of negotiations. His government will support talks that “guarantee national interests”, he has said. Six rounds of nuclear talks between Iran and world powers were held in Vienna between April and June. The last round concluded on June 20, and no date has been set for another. Officials in Tehran said there would be no new talks until Raisi assumed office.