Early this morning, the Iranian State Media confirmed that the President of Iran Ebrahim Raisi has died in a helicopter crash. The question that follows such an event is of course who is going to succeed Raisi.

Bloomberg published a nice article discussing the implications of the death of Iranian President and the subsequent impact on the country's leadership. Raisi was anticipated to succeed the aging Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, making his death significant for Iran's political future.

Supreme Leader vs. President:

  • The Supreme Leader is the ultimate authority in Iran, responsible for major state decisions, head of state, and commander in chief. This position, established after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, is reserved for a high-ranking Shia theologian, typically an Ayatollah.
  • The President is the head of the executive branch, elected every four years, overseeing government operations and policy implementation. The president's influence varies based on political strength and background.

Immediate Actions:

  • According to Iran's constitution, the first vice president, Mohammad Mokhber, will temporarily assume the presidency. Mokhber, with a background in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, will oversee the government until a new presidential election is held within 50 days.
  • Supreme Leader Khamenei assured the public of government stability despite Raisi's absence.

Regional and Internal Impact:

  • Raisi's death affects the ongoing deliberations over Khamenei's successor. Raisi was a key contender, and his death could alter power dynamics.
  • Raisi's tenure saw improved relations with Gulf Arab nations, a policy likely to continue but potentially subject to new priorities under different leadership.
  • Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps is expected to maintain vigilance to prevent adversaries from exploiting this period of transition.

Successor to the Supreme Leader:

  • With Raisi gone, Khamenei's son Mojtaba is now a prominent contender for the role of Supreme Leader. However, Mojtaba's lack of public presence and the potential backlash against perceived nepotism could complicate his ascension.
  • The Supreme Leader's legitimacy requires at least an appearance of popular support, something Mojtaba has yet to demonstrate.
Ebrahim Raisi
Ebrahim Raisi