July 21, 2024
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Iran Mourns President Raisi Tragic Death in Helicopter Crash

Raisi

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was declared dead on Monday, a few hours after his crashed helicopter was found in the mountainous northwest of Iran with no survivors. Raisi, along with Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and others, were confirmed dead at the accident site by officials. The rescue team reached the location after an extensive search, and the official confirmation came over 14 hours after the crash on Sunday evening.

Born in 1960 in Mashhad, a holy Shia Muslim city in Iran, Raisi rose through the ranks of Iran’s Shia clergy. He faced significant allegations from human rights groups for his role on a panel that oversaw the execution of hundreds of political prisoners in Tehran in 1988, towards the end of the Iran-Iraq War. He served as deputy head of the judiciary for a decade before being appointed prosecutor-general in 2014. Raisi was sanctioned by the United States for alleged human rights violations.

In 2019, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei appointed Raisi as judiciary chief, a high-profile role. Raisi was also deputy chairman of the Assembly of Experts, the body tasked with selecting the next Supreme Leader. Raisi ran for president in 2017 but lost to Hassan Rouhani. However, he became president in 2021 and was considered a potential successor to the 85-year-old Khamenei.

With Raisi’s death, Iran’s first vice president, Mohammad Mokhber, will assume the presidency with Khamenei’s assent, as per Article 131 of the Islamic Republic’s constitution. The constitution mandates that a new presidential election must be called within 50 days. Mokhber, the speaker of parliament, and the head of the judiciary are responsible for organizing the election within this timeframe. Consequently, the presidential elections, initially scheduled for 2025, are now expected to take place by July. Mokhber, born in 1955, will fulfill the interim president’s duties until the elections occur.

Mokhber, also close to Khamenei, was elected vice president in 2021 and has been active in key national decisions. Notably, he was part of the delegation that visited Moscow in October last year, where Iran agreed to supply surface-to-surface missiles and additional drones to Russia’s military, according to sources cited by Reuters.

Raisi’s untimely death marks a significant shift in Iran’s political landscape, triggering an early presidential election and a transition in leadership amidst ongoing geopolitical challenges.

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