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politics

Rescuers find ‘no sign’ Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi survived helicopter crash – POLITICO

In recent years, Raisi’s loyalty to the regime and his brutal methods have sparked speculation about his ability to replace Khamenei as supreme leader – which would give him the final say on all major political decisions – although that elevation seemed less likely lately due to criticism of the regime. his competence as president.

His death will reinforce the belief among many Iranians and Iran watchers that Khamenei’s own son, Mojtaba, will become the frontrunner in the race to succeed his father.

“Raisi represents a younger version of Iran’s revolutionary elite — much less competent, but much more zealous,” said Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington, who has called for more sanctions. strict against Tehran. “These are the kind of people Khamenei wants at the helm: Raisi’s death restricts the process of selecting his successor, and Khamenei’s own son is a potential candidate.”

Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian was also on board and is presumed dead. | Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

Before the death was confirmed, Khamenei called for prayers for the fallen president and promised the accident would not plunge the country into chaos. “The Iranian people should not worry: there will be no disruption in the country’s work,” he said.

Having helped oversee his country’s increasingly bellicose standoff with Israel and the West, and facing growing social discontent and economic malaise at home, Raisi “had a lot of enemies,” Taleblu said .

Iran’s foreign policy has drawn it into more direct confrontations with the West, with its leaders repeatedly threatening all-out war against Israel since the start of the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza and providing weapons and political support to Russia. Last month, Iran launched a wave of drones against Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, in what it called revenge for a strike on its consulate in Syria that killed two senior Revolutionary Guard commanders.

Meanwhile, Iran’s partners in Yemen, the Islamist Houthis, have for months harassed international shipping, firing missiles and drones at cargo ships and tankers in what they claim is an attempt to force Israel to back down. Hezbollah, Tehran’s longtime proxy, also uses its strongholds in southern Lebanon to fire rockets into Israel.

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