Khamenei Will Decide Fate of Iran's Presidency After Raisi

Monday, 05/20/2024

Questions are arising regarding who would immediately succeed Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi who was killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday.

According to Article 131 of Iran's constitution, in the event of the death or incapacitation of the president, specific procedures are set in motion to ensure interim continuity of leadership of the current administration until a new election is held.

As per the constitutional provision, if the president is unable to fulfill their duties, the first vice president assumes the role of president. Currently, Mohammad Mokhber holds the position of first vice president in Iran.

However, all constitutional provisions legally and in practice hinge on the approval of the Supreme Leader, who can determine if Mokhber can simply assume the duties of President by himself, or a council should be appointed, which would include the first vice president.

Theoretically, Ali Khamenei can also decide that having just one year left to the next presidential elections, perhaps no quick election is needed and either Mokhber or a council can finish Raisi's four-year term and hold elections on schedule in June 2025.

Mokhber, a close confidant of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, holds a prominent position in Iran's economic landscape as the former leader of the Execution of Imam Khomeini's Order (EIKO).

This conglomerate wields significant influence across various sectors of the Iranian economy, including energy, telecommunications, and financial services, with its operations overseen by the Office of the Supreme Leader of Iran.

As first vice president, Mokhber was also Raisi's point man on economic matters, and shares the blame for chaos in the past 33 months, as the Iranian currency lost 50% of its value. He also stands accused of corruption in the labyrinth of rumors and public opinion, shaped by tidbits of leaks within a controlled media environment.

Article 131, however, outlines the formation of a Council tasked with arranging for a new presidential election within a maximum period of 50 days.

This Council comprises the speaker of parliament, the chief justice, and the first deputy of the President.

The Council's responsibility is to ensure a smooth transition of power and the continuation of governance during this interim period.

In 2021, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Mokhber and EIKO, citing their involvement in human rights violations and the suppression of dissent within Iran.
"EIKO has systematically violated the rights of dissidents by confiscating land and property from opponents of the regime, including political opponents, religious minorities, and exiled Iranians, while, according to its leader Mohammad Mokhber, being tasked by the Supreme Leader to implement a 'resistance economy,'" emphasized the US Treasury in a statement issued in January 2021.

Mokhber's continued prominence within Iran's economic and political spheres and current appointment as first vice-president reflects his loyalty to the Supreme Leader's agenda.

This possibly solidifies his position as a useful figure in Iran's political landscape, potentially positioning him as the next interim Iranian President depending on Supreme Leader Khamenei's decision.

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