Tuesday June 25, 2024

Iran without Raisi

Late Iranian president had also expressed his desire to address the people of Pakistan

By Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani
May 24, 2024
Late Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi seen in this undated photo.— AFP/File
Late Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi seen in this undated photo.— AFP/File 

The tragic martyrdom of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, along with his colleagues, including the foreign minister, in a helicopter accident has shaken the entire world. While watching the breaking news on TV, I immediately recalled the scenes from Raisi’s recent visit to Pakistan last month when several events were organized in his honour at the official level.

On the occasion, the late Iranian president had also expressed his desire to address the people of Pakistan. Today, the entire Pakistani nation stands side by side with the people of Iran in this hour of tragedy and pays tribute to Ebrahim Raisi’s contributions to bringing people of both brotherly countries closer.

Undoubtedly, Raisi’s martyrdom has made the international community sad, as the series of condolence messages from the rulers of different countries, including the US, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkiye and India continues. Prime Minister of Pakistan Mian Shehbaz Sharif visited the Iranian Embassy in Islamabad after receiving the news of the tragedy and went to Tehran on May 22 to offer his condolences.

As soon as news of the helicopter crash surfaced, rumours got a life on social media and internet users began to express their views. In this regard, various possible reasons for the accident, including technical fault, mountainous region and weather conditions, and conspiracy theories of external intervention were widely discussed. However, the exact reason for the accident has not been officially announced yet.

Undoubtedly, Raisi was the most powerful president in Iranian history. He was believed to assume the position of Iran’s supreme leader. Under his leadership, the country was playing a pivotal role in the rapidly changing developments that the region experienced in the last few years.

During Raisi’s presidency, bilateral relations with ideological rival Saudi Arabia improved significantly. Iran came closer to China and Russia at the diplomatic level. According to Western media reports, Iranian-made drones are playing a decisive role in favour of Russia in the Ukraine war. Iran’s oil exports to Taliban-ruled Afghanistan increased during Raisi’s tenure, and most importantly, Iran showed firm commitment and determination to support the Palestinian cause at any cost.

After the martyrdom of the Iranian president, the most critical question is: what will be the future of Iran and how will this tragedy effect the region? Some media reports suggest that the accident is a big blow to the continuation of Iran’s conservative political and religious legacy. However, in my view, Western media has been speculating about the decline of Iran for the last many decades. Time after time, such reports appear in the media in which Western analysts predict that Iran will not be able to withstand US sanctions.

It is an undeniable fact that the Iranian nation has been making sacrifices for its principled position for a long time. Iranians have emerged stronger than before after facing every challenge. Since the Islamic Revolution, Iran has faced all kinds of tough situations, and the recent tragedy is not exempted from it.

Iran has shown its ability to handle an unexpected situation in a brilliant way after losing its top leadership, which is in fact an admirable act. Even before Raisi’s martyrdom was officially announced, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei had assured the Iranian people that there would be no disruption in state affairs. Presidential elections were announced to be held within 50 days. The acting president and the foreign minister also took charge on a priority basis.

Although the new Iranian leadership may have to face several challenges given the uncertainty of the region, I do not see any paradigm shift in Iran’s current policies. However, if evidence of any kind of external interference is found in connection with the helicopter accident, the entire region may have to face a dangerous situation.

The writer is a member of the

National Assembly and patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council.

He tweets/posts @RVankwani