What impact does the death of the Iranian president have?

What impact does the death of the Iranian president have?
What impact does the death of the Iranian president have?

A helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raïssi was involved in an accident on Sunday May 19.

Atlantico: In a few words, what is the journey of Ebrahim Raïssi, the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, victim of a helicopter accident in Iran on Sunday?

Emmanuel Razavi: Ebrahim Raïssi is nicknamed the Butcher of Tehran, which says a lot about his personality. He had his hands full of blood, having pronounced death sentences on thousands of opponents in the 1980s, when he was deputy prosecutor. In 2014, appointed attorney general, he was just as harsh. He was also in charge of a religious foundation and the mausoleum of Imam Reza. President of the Islamic Republic since August 2021, he is considered an ultraconservative, fiercely anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli. He also showed clear support for Hamas after the October 7 pogrom perpetrated by the Palestinian terrorist organization. During recent protests, he arrested more than 20,000 people and executed several hundred.

Is an uprising still possible, can his death move the lines?

In Iran, everything is possible. As we speak, Bassiji militiamen are deployed in several cities in Iran, because the regime fears demonstrations of joy. It must be understood that Raïssi crystallizes the hatred of Iranian opponents, due to the severe repression he has imposed since the start of the “Woman, Life, Liberty” revolution. There are currently 5 executions per day in Iran.

In addition, the Iranian regime is weakened by internal dissensions, including in the close entourage of Supreme Guide Ali Khamenei and within the Revolutionary Guard Corps, its armed wing. What is certain is that his supposed death, as we speak, opens up numerous scenarios among his opponents, as well as various hypotheses on the reasons for the accident. Several sources indicate that there were tensions between Raïssi and the supreme guide, due to the latter’s political succession.

Exactly, what are the reasons for the helicopter accident?

Officially, the weather was bad. But all kinds of rumors are already circulating on the Internet or within the opposition movements to which I spoke.

Do this accident and its consequences risk igniting the region given the geopolitical context under tension with the conflict in Gaza and the recent Iranian strikes targeting Israel?

Iran is very fragile politically, and its fragility results in the hyper-aggressiveness of the regime which could blame Israel for Raisi’s death. This is already circulating on Twitter loops of Hamas, which is supported by the Islamic Republic of Iran. But once again, let’s be careful not to make any predictions.

This week you interviewed Prince Reza Pahlavi, the main opponent of the Mullahs’ regime. Could he take advantage of the situation?

Reza Pahlavi explains in the interview he gave me for Paris Match, that he has a precise agenda, and that he is ready. He is already in the shoes of the one who will be the leader of the democratic and secular transition in Iran. This is what he says and he has precisely detailed the axes of his program. However, it is far too early to know what will happen in the near future in Iran.

Find the interview with Prince Reza Pahlavi by Emmanuel Razavi: click HERE

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