Ebrahim Raisi: Death of Iran's hardline president death won’t change much for most Iranians

Ebrahim Raisi: Death of Iran's hardline president death won’t change much for most Iranians

Official mourning has begun in Iran for President Ebrahim Raisi – possibly the most hardline of all Iran’s presidents since 1979. He had been handpicked by the country’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and was seen as his most likely successor.

Though he had been involved in the most crucial episodes of Iran’s recent politics, external and internal, his death and that of the equally hardline foreign minister Hassan Amir-Abdollahian won’t change much for most Iranians.

A new election is due to be held within 50 days, and another conservative will be selected by the 88 strong Council of Experts and the Supreme Leader. Last time they disqualified almost any serious rival from running in the election, which saw the lowest turnout since the birth of the Islamic Republic in 1979.

The death of Raisi is important in highlighting the imminent change when the ageing and ailing Khamenei dies, and who runs the show then. It also underscores the critical position of Iran in the global crisis – the interlocking confrontations from Ukraine, to Gaza, the Red Sea and into the Indian Ocean.

Iran is now a key ally in the Club of Autocracies, along with Russia, China and North Korea in their strategy of global disruption to upset the rules based order run by the US and its allies. It supplies oil and energy products to China, and drones and missiles to Russia.

During the Raisi presidency it has upped production of nuclear materials and is now though to have at least three nuclear warheads – virtually writing off the nuclear deal, the JCPOA, of 2015. Raisi was also involved in the decision to attack Israel directly with more than 300 drones and missiles on 12th April – though almost none got through.

On the domestic front, Raisi was a jurist on the Tribunal that condemned hundreds of political prisoners to death in 1988. More recently his crackdown on protests against headscarves led violence and the detention of hundreds of protesters, following the death in detention of Mahsa Amin, 22 – whose legacy of disobedience continues.

Of greatest concern, however, is the standoff with Israel. “It’s the thing that could make conflict go global,” a British official remarked recently.

Israel has been swift in denying any involvement in the crash that killed Iran’s president and foreign minister.