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Supporters of the Islamic Republic in disarray after the death of President Raïssi

Photo: Vahid Salemi Associated Press Iranian women hold portraits of the late President Ebrahim Raïssi during his funeral on Wednesday in Tehran.

Ahmad Parhizi – Agence France-Presse and Majid Sourati – Agence France-Presse in Tehran

Posted at 9:44 a.m. Updated at 9:58 a.m.

  • Middle East

“I am more worried than sad,” summarizes Mohadeseh Jalali, concerned about the future of the Islamic Republic of Iran after the sudden death of President Ebrahim Raïssi, an ultraconservative to whom a huge crowd paid a tribute. last tribute Wednesday in Tehran.

This 32-year-old housewife is not the only one concerned about the uncertainties raised by the disappearance of the president who led the country since 2021.

“How to find someone like him ? I'm really worried about this,” also admits Mohsen, a 31-year-old cleric, interviewed by AFP in the huge procession that formed in the center of Tehran .

“As far as I know, we have no one of his stature,” adds this man who came specially from the holy city of Qom, who refused to communicate his name.

A presidential election will be held on June 28 to replace Mr. Raïssi, who died on Sunday in a helicopter crash which left seven other people dead, including the minister of Foreign Affairs, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

The major electoral maneuvers will begin after the five days of national mourning announced on Monday.

< p>At this stage, no favorite emerges to succeed the ultraconservative Raïssi, who was elected in 2021 in the first round of a vote from which reformer and moderate candidates had been excluded.

Supporters of the Islamic Republic in disarray after the death of President Raïssi

Photo: Vahid Salemi Associated Press A huge crowd paid a final tribute to the late President Raïssi on Wednesday in Tehran.

“Not focused on the West”

“I don’t know what will happen” to these elections, Mohsen argues. “Among the potential candidates, there is no consensus among the conservatives.”

The camp of conservatives and ultraconservatives further strengthened its hold on political life with the legislative elections in March, in which many candidates of other tendencies were unable to participate.

In three years of presidency, Ebrahim Raïssi managed with a firmness criticized by part of the population a popular protest movement in 2022, he was confronted with an economic crisis aggravated by American sanctions and a worsening of tensions with the sworn enemy Israel, which have been exacerbated since October by the war in the Gaza Strip.

“I voted for him in the 2017 presidential elections (where he was defeated) and 2021. I have no regrets at all,” says Mostafa, recognizing however that “the government's economic performance can be criticized.”

This 37-year-old cleric, who refused to give his name, remembers above all that Raïssi “was not focused on the West” and “did not forget the countries” of the Middle East, such as Saudi Arabia with which Iran mended in 2023 after years of estrangement.

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For Mohsen, Iran has experience managing delicate successions since the 1979 revolution. He cites the example of that of Imam Rouhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, after his death in June 1989.

It was Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, then president, who was designated to occupy the post of head of state, and “he “there was no problem”, according to him.

Ebrahim Raïssi, who was also Ayatollah, was considered one of the favorites to succeed the latter, in power for 35 years and aged 85.

The name of the supreme leader's son, Mojtaba Khamenei, is also cited by experts.

Whatever happens, says Mohsen, “the question of leadership is of divine dimension. Whatever God wants will happen.”

Having taken his place in the huge procession, civil servant Ali Mousavi Nejad testifies that he wanted to pay “tribute to the victims”. But also “send a message to the enemies of the Islamic Republic: the path traced by the martyrs continues and they cannot dissuade Iranians from supporting the revolution,” adds this 35-year-old man.

Huge crowd in Tehran for funeral

A huge crowd gathered in the center of Tehran on Wednesday to pay a final tribute to Iranian President Ebrahim Raïssi, celebrated as a “martyr” after his death in a helicopter crash.

“A million goodbyes,” said state television, welcoming the number of people gathered in the center of the capital. No independent estimates were available.

“I’m sad. I came to soothe my heart,” testified Maryam, a 41-year-old teacher wearing a chador who arrived with her husband and son from a town south of Tehran.

On this declared public holiday, the ceremonies began with a prayer led by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who prostrated himself before the coffins of the eight men killed in the crash, including the head of diplomacy Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

With Mr. Raïssi, “we have lost a significant personality. He was a very good brother. An efficient, competent, sincere and serious civil servant,” he then declared, receiving Iraqi Prime Minister Mohamed Shia al-Sudani, one of the foreign personalities who came for the occasion.

At prayer, the highest authority of the Islamic Republic was surrounded by leading members of the Shiite clergy, members of the government including interim President Mohammad Mokhber, and senior army officers and the Revolutionary Guards.

Also present were the political leader of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, Ismaïl Haniyeh, and the number two of Lebanese Hezbollah, Naïm Qassem.

Despite Raisi's death, “we are convinced that the Islamic Republic of Iran will continue its support for the Palestinian people,” said Mr. Haniyeh, who spoke briefly just before three European countries — Spain, Ireland and Norway — do not recognize the Palestinian state.

Hamas and Hezbollah are part of the “axis of resistance” which, notably with the Yemeni Houthi rebels, is supported by Tehran in the context of the war in the Gaza Strip between Hamas and Israel.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116