Potential Successor to Iranian Supreme Leader Declared Dead

(RepublicanNews.org) – The president of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi, a notorious hardline politician who was the Supreme Leader’s protégé, perished in a devastating helicopter crash that left eight dead in total.

On Sunday, May 19th, a helicopter made by the American company Bell fell from the sky in a remote, mountainous, foggy area near the city of Jolfa (close to the Azerbaijan border). Raisi, 63, was among the eight people confirmed dead on the following day after a search, as well as Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian. The Bell 212 helicopter dates back to the Vietnam War era.

Raisi was known as a hardliner who notoriously helped oversee the mass execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988. He went on to lead Iran through a series of economic and cultural developments over just a few years, including the enrichment of the nation’s uranium closer toward weapons-grade capabilities. Raisi was known as a protege of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Iranian Supreme Leader, who many believe to be responsible for his rise to power.

When Raisi took power, diplomatic relations between Iran and the U.S. were strained after former President Donald Trump decided in 2018 to withdraw the U.S. from an Obama-era nuclear accord that lifted most sanctions on Iran in exchange for agreed-upon restrictions in the nation’s nuclear program. With sanctions restored, Iran continued to develop its nuclear program, most likely beyond the agreed-upon restrictions despite claims by Raisi that he was willing to rejoin the accord. Instead, he resisted efforts to conduct international inspections of Iran’s facilities.

The death of Raisi and the foreign minister comes at a time when Iran is dealing with internal polarization and dissent as well as suspicions from the international community of funding terrorist organizations to destabilize other areas, such as Hamas leadership in Gaza amid Israel’s effort to weed out the radical Islamic group. Taking a very theocratic approach, the Iranian president often spoke more like a preacher rather than a politician and once kissed the Quran during a United Nations gathering.

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