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Thursday June 13, 2024

After Raisi funeral, Iran’s focus turns to vote for successor

By AFP
May 29, 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

TEHRAN: After Iran mourned president Ebrahim Raisi, who died in a helicopter crash, the nation´s focus turns to the election for his successor, with the conservative camp seeking a loyalist to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The lead-up to the June 28 vote has opened the field to a broad range of hopefuls. The big question now is how many of them will have their candidacies approved by the Guardian Council, a conservative-dominated vetting body.

Ultraconservative Raisi, who had more than a year left of his term, died on May 19 alongside his foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and six others when their helicopter crashed into a fog-shrouded mountainside.

They were laid to rest after funeral rituals lasting several days that drew huge crowds of mourners. The June vote will be held during a turbulent time, as the Gaza war rages between Iran´s arch-foe Israel and Tehran-backed Hamas, and amid continued diplomatic tensions over Iran´s nuclear programme. Iran also faces sustained economic hardship, exacerbated by tough sanctions reimposed by the US after it withdrew from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal.

Khamenei, who has the final say in all matters of state, has assigned Raisi´s vice president, Mohammad Mokhber, 68, to assume interim duties for the next few weeks and organise the June election.