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President Ebrahim Raisi declared dead: What's next for Iran's leadership

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, along with Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and others, were confirmed dead on Monday, a day after their helicopter crashed in the mountainous northwest

Ebrahim Raisi Iran

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi looks on during a TV interview, in Tehran, Iran May 7, 2024 . (Reuters)

Nisha Anand New Delhi

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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was declared dead on Monday, a couple of hours after the site of his crashed helicopter was located in the mountainous northwest of Iran with "no sign of life."

Raisi, along with Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and others, were confirmed dead at the accident site, an official told Reuters. The rescue team reached the spot following a lengthy search operation. The official confirmation came more than 14 hours after the incident occurred on Sunday evening.

Who was Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi?

Raisi was born in 1960 to a religious family in Iran's holy Shia Muslim city of Mashhad. He faced allegations from rights groups for overseeing a panel that handled the execution of hundreds of political prisoners in Tehran in 1988 towards the end of Iran's eight-year war with Iraq.
He served as the deputy head of the judiciary for 10 years until being appointed as the prosecutor-general in 2014. He also faced sanctions from the United States over alleged human rights violations.

He rose through the ranks of Iran's Shia Muslim clergy and was appointed by Khamenei to the high-profile job of judiciary chief in 2019. As Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's loyalist, Raisi was later appointed as the deputy chairman of the Assembly of Experts, the body responsible for electing the next Supreme Leader. Under Iran's power structure, Khamenei is the Islamic Republic's top authority.

Raisi ran for president in 2017, losing to Hassan Rouhani, but became Iran's president in 2021. He was considered a potential successor to the 85-year-old Khamenei.

What happens to Iran's leadership now?

Now that Raisi is confirmed to be dead in the crash, Iran's first vice president, Mohammad Mokhber, will take over with Khamenei's assent, according to Article 131 of the Islamic Republic's constitution.

The rules also mandate a new presidential election to be called within 50 days.

The interim president, along with the speaker of parliament and the head of the judiciary, is responsible for organising the election within this timeframe.

This means that the presidential elections, initially scheduled for 2025, are now likely to take place by July.

Who Is Iran's Interim President, Mohammad Mokhber?

The 68-year-old leader will take on the interim president's duties until the elections take place. Born in 1955, Mokhber is also seen as close to Khamenei and was elected as the vice president in the 2021 polls.

He has been active in some of Iran's key decisions, including being part of the visit to Moscow in October last year, where Iran agreed to supply surface-to-surface missiles and more drones to Russia's military, Reuters cited sources as saying.

(With inputs from agencies)

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First Published: May 20 2024 | 11:31 AM IST

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