May 20, 2024

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Abdollahian and Others Killed in Helicopter Crash

Washington, DC – Jamal Abdi, President of the National Iranian American Council, issued the following statement on the helicopter crash that killed Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian and other Iranian figures:

“The death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, along with Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian, creates a void in the Islamic Republic’s leadership amid a deepening legitimacy crisis for the Islamic Republic.

“Raisi came to office in elections that were highly choreographed, even by the Islamic Republic’s standards, and which marked a new era of consolidation of power by hardliners and the narrowing of already meager channels for popular political contestation allowed by the regime. 

“He entered office with a long history of rights abuses from his time in the Iranian judiciary that oversaw mass executions of political dissidents in 1988 and Raisi’s  government will be forever known for its brutal crackdown against popular demonstrations during the ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’ movement. 

“Iran will now hold a special Presidential election in fifty days to replace the current caretaker administration led by Iran’s First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber. This will pose new challenges for the Islamic Republic, as popular participation in elections has declined precipitously in recent years. Most recently, this spring, the vast majority of Iranian voters stayed home in parliamentary elections where most moderate and reformist candidates were barred from running. The state will now weigh its interest in mobilizing public participation in an unprecedented election at a time of great regional turmoil against its fears of popular challenges to its rule amid domestic unease. The divides between state and society will only deepen if the Guardian Council only approves a narrow list of conservative regime insiders to run for the Iranian presidency.”


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