Helicopter crash in Iran: President Raisi is dead

Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian died on Sunday after the helicopter which was carrying him and which was reportedly more than 40 years old crashed in bad weather conditions in the mountains in the northwest of the country. Will his death bring political change to the Islamic Republic?

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La Repubblica (IT) /

The regime is wavering

Raisi's accidental death and the joyful reactions in Iran show that the Islamic Republic has feet of clay, geopolitics expert Lucio Caracciolo comments in La Repubblica:

“The fact that the official head of the Persian state boarded a completely outdated aircraft in bad weather is confirmation of Raisi's modest relevance for his own regime. Moreover, the less than private celebrations in Tehran and other Iranian cities to mark Raisi's death - who was best known for the bloody repression he carried out in his younger years against the Shah's supporters and various opponents - is a reminder to us that the regime's degree of legitimacy is wavering.”

Libération (FR) /

Dictatorships abhor change

For Libération, the regime is in crisis but not in serious danger:

“Ebrahim Raisi was a hardliner among the hardliners and dubbed the 'Butcher of Tehran'. He stepped up the repression against women seeking to free themselves from their headscarves and against the men who supported them. Above all, however, he was destined to succeed Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Admittedly, Iran's theocratic regime is a triple-locked system, and the collapse of a single cog, even an important one, will not be enough to bring about the collapse of the whole. But dictatorships abhor change and only flourish in a static state. While the mullahs are hastily reorganising, popular resentment against the regime continues to smoulder.”

La Libre Belgique (BE) /

No change in sight

Iran could become even more radicalised now, La Libre Belgique warns:

“Raisi's death is unlikely to change the direction taken by the Iranian government. On the contrary, it could provide a further opportunity to tighten the security screws and strengthen the grip of the Pasdaran. ... Once the mourning ceremonies and the state funeral are over, it is to be expected that the presidential elections - like the parliamentary elections in March - will result in a clear victory for the regime's hardliners. And further widen the already enormous rift between the Iranian people and their leadership.”

Habertürk (TR) /

Recalibration of the power structure

Iran's political system has been galvanised by Raisi's sudden death, and this will also affect neighbouring states, Habertürk puts in:

“It's likely that the helicopter crash will be discussed more in terms of its effect on the balance of power within the country. ... While Iran's real decision-makers are drawing up plans for the post-Khamenei era, their immediate agenda is the election of the country's next president. They must take many dynamics into account, from the country's nuclear programme to regional developments. What kind of political profile can we expect? All of these issues directly affect Turkey and our region.”