Home News Raisi’s death threatens new instability in Iran

Raisi’s death threatens new instability in Iran


The sudden death of Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi has opened a new chapter of instability just as the increasingly unpopular Islamic republic is electing its next supreme leader. Lacey, 63, is considered a leading candidate and is particularly favored by the powerful Revolutionary Guards.

Even before the helicopter crash that killed Mr Lacey, the regime had been mired in internal political and religious struggles over the health of 85-year-old Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the Middle East’s longest-serving head of state. The situation went from bad to worse.

But analysts don’t expect much change in Iran’s foreign or domestic policies, given concerns about instability at a time when the Islamic Republic faces internal protests, a weak economy, endemic corruption and strained relations with Israel. Mr Khamenei has set a direction for the country that no new president will change much.

The system “is already on a trajectory to ensure that the supreme leader’s successor is fully consistent with his vision for the future of the system,” said Ali Vaez, the International Crisis Group’s Iran director.

He described “a pretty tough vision” in which key areas of foreign policy, such as support for regional proxy militias and the development of components for nuclear weapons, would not change.

Whoever is chosen as the next president, Watts said, “has to be someone who fits that vision and is a compliant figurehead.”

Ellie Geranmaye, an Iran expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations, also sees continuity in key foreign policy issues, including regional issues and the nuclear program. “These documents have been under the control of Iran’s supreme leader and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps,” she said, referring to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, “which Lacey had little influence over during his tenure as president.”

“Lasi would certainly be useful to some IRGC factions,” Ms. Geranmaye said. Unlike his predecessor Hassan Rouhani, Raisi was a more conservative loyalist who “did not challenge the IRGC on domestic or foreign policy issues,” she said.

But she said criticism of Raisi’s performance as president had raised questions about whether he was the best candidate to succeed Khamenei.

Raisi’s main rival is thought to be Khamenei’s 55-year-old son Moitaba, whose candidacy has been marred by the aura of monarchical succession.

Mr Raisi’s death may make it easier for Mojtaba Khamenei to follow in his father’s footsteps. But the inner workings of Iran’s religion and domestic politics are deliberately mysterious, and final decisions will be made by a committee of senior clerics known as the Assembly of Experts. Although Mojtaba Khamenei is considered the clerics’ favorite, they may still decide to choose one or more of their own for collective leadership.

His father, the supreme leader, had been working “to reduce unpredictability within the system by grooming President Lacey to be his successor, but now that all those plans are out of date, they’re back to the drawing board,” he explain. Mr Watts.

From the outside, the challenges are also daunting. Iran and Israel launched direct attacks on each other in April, even as Israel was already battling Iran’s military proxies – Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Iran also supports Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who have attacked shipping in the Red Sea.

Iran has been trying to avoid a larger war between Hezbollah and Israel, and a direct conflict with Israel is something the Islamic Republic cannot afford.

It has been in on-again, off-again talks with the United States on de-escalating regional conflicts and the future of its nuclear programme. Lacey’s death could also complicate those negotiations.

“While there is no love lost in Washington, D.C., for Lacey, instability in Iran comes at a bad time,” said Trita Passi, an Iran expert at the Institute for Responsible Statecraft in Quincy, which makes it “difficult to prevent escalation.” more difficult”.

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