Ebrahim Raisi with Iran’s Supreme Leader (File)

Hardline cleric and 2017 Presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi has been confirmed as Iran’s head of judiciary.

Judiciary spokesperson Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei confirmed Raisi’s appointment on Sunday. The cleric replaces Sadeq Larijani, who has become chair of the Expediency Council.

Yahya Kamalipour, a member of Parliament’s judiciary committee, told reporters that Raisi will be officially installed at the judiciary on Thursday.

As custodian and chairman of the wealthy Astan Quds Razavi foundation, based at the holy shrine in Mashhad, Raisi is one of Iran’s most influential clergy. He was backed by the Supreme Leader’s office and conservative factions to challenge President Hassan Rouhani in 2017, but only gained 38.3% of the vote.

Raisi has been criticized as one of the judges who sentenced thousands of political prisoners to execution in 1988, at the end of the Iran-Iraq War. He has also served as Iran’s Attorney General.