Accidental death of Syed Ebrahim Raisi: Iran’s President

Hardliner and possible successor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, died on Monday when his helicopter crashed in bad weather in the mountains close to the border with Azerbaijan, according to officials and state media.

Following an overnight search in blizzard conditions, early on Monday, the burned wreckage of the helicopter that crashed on Sunday, carrying Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, six other passengers, and crew, was located.

Who is the Acting President?

First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber will serve as acting president until Supreme Leader Khamenei, who has the last say on matters of foreign policy and Iran’s nuclear program, steps down, according to the official IRNA news agency.

In a statement, Khamenei said,
                                                 “I offer my condolences to the dear people of Iran and I announce five days of public mourning.” Similar to Raisi, Mokhber is thought to be near Khamenei.’’

Iran/ Israeli Conflict

The disaster occurs during an extremely turbulent period for the Middle East due to the Israel-Hamas conflict. Just last month, Raisi, acting on behalf of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, conducted an unprecedented drone and missile attack on Israel. Under Raisi, Iran has brought uranium closer than ever to weapons-grade levels, intensifying tensions with the West. Tehran has also continued arming proxy groups in the Middle East, including Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthi rebels in Yemen, and has supplied Russia with drones equipped with bombs for its war in Ukraine.

Which businesses are in charge of the Bell 212 helicopter?

Here are some further details regarding the Bell 212 helicopter that went down:

The US police and fire departments, Thailand’s national police, and Japan’s coast guard are among the non-military organizations that operate Bell 212s.

The number of air force and navy bases in Iran is 10, according to FlightGlobal’s 2024 World Air Forces directory; however, the number of facilities used by the Iranian government is unknown.

Under the Shah, Iran became the largest military helicopter force in the Middle East by purchasing a huge number of Bell and Agusta helicopters, according to Western accounts.

The Agusta Bell AB-212, an Italian-built naval variant, is currently part of Iran’s fleet.

What a lasting impact does Raisi’s passing have?

With Raisi’s passing, there are now concerns over who will take over as Iran’s most powerful person, the 85-year-old Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

During Raisi’s presidency, the Iranian clerical elite made significant investments in him because they saw him as a possible Khamenei successor. He had allegedly been prepared to become the Supreme Leader, according to observers.

A senior scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Karim Sadjadpour wrote on X that Raisi’s passing will lead to “a succession crisis in Iran.”

The late president suppressed the major protests in 2022 that aimed to oppose oppressive rules, like the need for women to wear the hijab, by upholding some of the regime’s most rigid policies.

What effect will it have on Iran’s diplomatic ties?

Under Raisi and Amir-Abdollahian’s leadership, Iran’s relations with its Arab neighbors improved, and with China’s support, relations with Saudi Arabia, a longtime adversary, were repaired. However, they also witnessed the Islamic Republic launch its first major direct attack on Israel following an alleged Israeli strike on an Iranian diplomatic facility in Syria. Israel responded with an unprecedented strike as a result, exposing the two countries’ covert conflict.


According to analyst Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, CEO of the Bourse and Bazaar think tank, “the sudden death of a president is normally a consequential event but, despite being seen as a potential Supreme Leader, he lacked political support and any clear political vision.” “But without him, the political operatives who helped him win will adapt and progress.”
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