Iran Presidential Elections Set For June 28 As Probe Into Raisi's Helictoper Crash Begins

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Iran Presidential Elections Set For June 28 As Probe Into Raisi's Helictoper Crash Begins | The National 

Iranian Armed Forces chief Maj Gen Mohammad Bagheri has assigned a high-ranking delegation to investigate the helicopter crash in which President Ebrahim Raisi and other high-ranking officials were killed. The delegation has been sent to the crash site and the results of the investigation will be announced when the mission is completed, Irna said later on Monday. Iran will hold presidential elections on June 28, the state news agency said. The date was decided in a meeting of senior officials led by interim president Mohammad Mokhber, who was First Vice President.  

 U.S. ‘Condolences’ For Raisi Reflect A Delicate Diplomatic Ritual | The New York Times 

In the eyes of the Biden administration, Ebrahim Raisi was a brutal tyrant, a sworn enemy and a threat to world peace. But within hours of confirmation that Mr. Raisi, who had served for three years as Iran’s president, was killed in a weekend helicopter crash, the U.S. State Department announced its “official condolences” for his sudden death. A terse statement, issued on Monday under the name of a State Department spokesman, Matthew Miller, betrayed no grief for the Iranian leader, who frequently railed at the United States and is believed to have at least condoned attacks on American troops by Iranian-backed proxy forces in Iraq and Syria.  

Raisi Crash Exposes Dangers Of Iran’s Threadbare Aviation Fleet | Bloomberg 

The helicopter crash that killed Iran President Ebrahim Raisi is the latest reminder of the poor state of many aircraft operating in the Islamic Republic after almost half a century of US sanctions. Iran has been largely barred from purchasing new aircraft or aircraft components from US or European suppliers since the revolution of 1979, leaving both military and civilian operators cut off from heavyweights Boeing Co. and Airbus SE and reliant on patched-up vehicles from earlier eras. Iranian airlines operate some of the world’s oldest aircraft, with an average fleet age of over 25 years. Some domestic services are operated by models that have long been retired in the rest of the world, including the McDonnell Douglas MD-83 and Airbus A300 and A310.  

UANI IN THE NEWS 

Raisi’s Death Has Ruined The Ayatollah’s Succession Plans | UANI Policy Director Jason Brodsky For The Spectator 

The helicopter crash that killed Iran’s president Ebrahim Raisi and foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian will not fundamentally change the Islamic Republic. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the 85-year-old supreme leader, remains the constitutional commander-in-chief and is still in charge of strategic decision-making in the country. But Raisi being removed from the scene has the potential to scramble the politics of succession in Iran. This is not the first time an Iranian president has died while in office. On August 30, 1981, president Mohammad Ali Rajai was killed alongside prime minister Mohammad-Javad Bahonar and other government officials in a bombing. The current supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei succeeded Rajai as president.  

The West Must Strike Now, And Collapse The Iranian Regime | UANI CEO Ambassador Mark D. Wallace And UANI Director Of IRGC Research Kasra Aarabi For The Telegraph 

Hidden from many in the West is the internal chaos caused by yesterday’s events in Iran. The past 24 hours have exposed the vulnerability of the clerical regime, and for the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – who rules with absolute power – this will be the main takeaway from yesterday’s helicopter crash and the death of president Ebrahim Raisi. The 85-year-old ayatollah will surely view the crash that killed Raisi as a “test-run” for his own death and succession. And when seen in this light, the regime’s handling of the past 24 hours will be extremely concerning. As part of his 2019 “Second Phase of the Islamic Revolution” manifesto, the ageing ayatollah has spent the past 5 years “purifying” the regime, empowering a new generation of ideological absolutists, in order to complete his personalization of power project to guarantee a smooth and orderly succession when he dies. 

Threat Of WW3 Looms On As Iran Insists As Chopper Death Of President Raisi ‘WON’T Deter Regime’ Amid Nuke Tensions | The US Sun 

Dubbed "The Butcher", Raisi died on Sunday when a helicopter he was travelling on crashed in the mountains killing everyone onboard. […] Sir Ivor Roberts, senior adviser to United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) and former British diplomat, told The Sun that Raisi's death will not hurt Khamenei's nefarious rule. He said: "Nothing is going to change the regime's course. Either the whole regime has to be toppled or it'll just carry on in much the same way. "The message from the regime in Iran will be business as usual. "But [Raisi] was being groomed as the successor to the supreme leader. And that's what makes what has happened of particular note." Khamenei told Iranians this morning that there would be no disruptions to the running of the country following his death. But it will no doubt stoke existing fears across the nation of a wider war after last month's unprecedented direct attacks between Israel and Iran. Sir Ivor explains that Iran will fall back on its formidable Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to quash any uprisings following Raisi's death. "The regime will simply, I think, double down. There will be a tremendous determination to ensure that there is no popular dissent emerging. "They will already be, you know, orchestrating the weeping and tears for the the fallen President."  

Biden Admin Expresses ‘Official Condolences’ For Death Of Iranian President Who Was Dubbed The ‘Butcher Of Tehran’ | The Daily Caller 

…“Today’s statement by @StateDept offering “official condolences” after #Iran‘s regime’s president’s death is a symptom of a larger problem. The Biden administration’s Iran policy is adrift,” Jason Brodsky, policy director at United Against Nuclear Iran, said on X on Monday. “It is defined by an extreme and irrational risk-aversion. It tries to appease everyone at the same time–the regime included–and shoots itself in the foot time and again.” 

What To Know About Mohammad Mokhber, Who Is Stepping In As Interim President Of Iran | NPR 

…United Against Nuclear Iran, a U.S.-based nonprofit advocacy organization, says Mokhber spent a large part of his career working at "important Bonyads implicated in Iran's ballistic missile and nuclear programs, terrorism, corruption, mismanagement, human rights violations, and sanctions evasion." 

Will Washington Use Deaths Of Top Islamic Republic Officials As Opportunity To Change Course On Tehran Policies? | The New York Sun 

…Of Mr. Biden, United Against Nuclear Iran’s CEO, Mark Wallace, adds in a statement that he “should focus on the Iranian people’s aspirations in its public diplomacy, highlighting the regime being irredeemable. The U.S. and its allies should consider covert operations — both cyber and kinetic — to deepen the divisions within the regime’s elite and expose their failings to the Iranian people.”   

Iran's WW3 Threat Still High As President Ebrahim Raisi's Death ‘Won't Deter Nuclear Plan’ Amid Tensions With West | Mirror 

…Sir Ivor Roberts, senior advisor to United Against Nuclear Iran and a former British diplomat, said Raisi's death would not dent Iran's dictatorial rule. The country has continued to fund terrorist organisations across the Middle East and recently launched a direct attack on Israel. "Nothing is going to change the regime's course," he told The Sun. "Either the whole regime has to be toppled or it'll just carry on in much the same way. The message from the regime in Iran will be business as usual. But [Raisi] was being groomed as the successor to the supreme leader. And that's what makes what has happened of particular note."  

Khamenei Approves Mokhber As Interim Pres | i24 News 

'Raisi's death won't change anything... The Islamic Republic's Supreme Leader is the strategic decision maker, the President is an implementor,' @JasonMBrodsky discusses the impact on Iran's Supreme Leader's succession politics 

NUCLEAR DEAL & NUCLEAR PROGRAM 

Iran's Nuclear Negotiator Ali Bagheri Named Acting Foreign Minister | AFP 

Iran's veteran nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri, a harsh critic of the West, was Monday named acting foreign minister to replace the top diplomat killed in a helicopter crash along with the president. Bagheri, 56, had served as deputy to the foreign minister of the Islamic republic, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, who perished along with the Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi and seven others in the accident. Bagheri is considered close to Iran's ultraconservatives and a member of the inner circle of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is the father-in-law of Bagheri's brother. The negotiator with the salt-and-pepper beard came to be known to his interlocutors for a soft-spoken composure that often stood in sharp contrast to his uncompromising stance.  

TERRORISM & EXTREMISM 

Yemen’s Iran-Backed Houthi Rebels Claim They Shot Down Another US Drone | Associated Press 

The Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed on Tuesday they shot down an American drone over the impoverished Arab county. The U.S. military did not immediately acknowledge the claim. If confirmed, this would be the second MQ-9 Reaper drone downed by the Houthis over the past week as they press their campaign over the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip. Last Friday, the Houthis claimed downing an American drone over the province of Marib, hours after footage circulated online of what appeared to be the wreckage of an MQ-9 Reaper. And early Saturday, a vessel also came under attack in the Red Sea. Houthi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree said Tuesday the drone was shot down with a locally made surface-to-air missile. He did not say when it took place but alleged the drone “was carrying out hostile missions” over Yemen’s southern province of Bayda. 

Hamas Mourns Iranian President Raisi, As Anti-Israel Agitators Baselessly Blame Israel For His Death | The New York Post 

Hamas terrorists mourned Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s death Monday, praising the brutal leader, known as the “Butcher of Tehran,” for his fight against “Zionist aggression” — as anti-Israel agitators baselessly blamed the Jewish state for his demise. Raisi, 63, was killed when his helicopter went down in mountainous terrain in a remote region of the country on Sunday, officials and state media said. The charred wreckage of the helicopter — which was carrying Raisi, his foreign minister and six others — was found early on Monday after an overnight search in a blizzard. In a statement, Hamas hailed Raisi’s support of the “Palestinian resistance” in the wake of the Oct. 7 bloodshed at the hands of the terror group. “These leaders supported the legitimate struggle of our people against the Zionist entity, provided valued support to the Palestinian resistance, and made tireless efforts in solidarity and support in all forums and fields for our people in the steadfast Gaza Strip during the Battle of Al-Aqsa Flood,” Hamas said.  

PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS 

Activists Lament 'Impunity' Of Iran's Raisi After Crash Death | AFP 

A man who rose quickly through the ranks after Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution, Raisi was accused by activists of overseeing mass executions of prisoners in 1988 followed by a litany of human rights abuses as judiciary chief and later president. "Ebrahim Raisi was a symbol of judicial impunity for criminals and the entrenched lack of accountability within the Islamic republic's system," Mahmood-Amiry Moghaddam, director of Norway-based group Iran Human Rights, said in a statement to AFP. He "should have been prosecuted for crimes against humanity and held accountable in a fair trial for the countless atrocities he committed over these four decades," Moghaddam added.  

Ukraine Plane Victims' Families Condemn Raisi Following His Death | Iran International  

After the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, the Association of Families of the Ukrainian Plane Victims released a statement accusing him of complicity in the downing of the airliner. The flight was shot down by two air-defense missiles fired by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on January 8, 2020, shortly after taking off from Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport, killing all 176 aboard. The group accused him of not only being complicit in maintaining open Iranian airspace during the shooting down of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 but also in actively obstructing the victims' families' quest for truth. In July, Britain, Canada, Sweden, and Ukraine lodged formal complaints against Iran at the International Court of Justice, accusing the Islamic Republic of intentionally shooting down the plane. Additionally, in January, these nations submitted a complaint to the UN Aviation Council, seeking to hold Iran responsible for the aircraft's downing.  

Dissident Expresses Joy Amid Mourning For President Raisi | Iran International 

Following Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi's death in a helicopter crash, dissident Saeed Afkari, brother of the executed wrestler Navid Afkari, has publicly shared his joy. In a message on X, Saeed remarked, "I haven't seen my mother this happy in years." The sentiment reflects the scars left by Raisi's tenure as head of the judiciary, a period characterized by repression and injustice, particularly for families like the Afkaris who suffered directly under his rule. Navid Afkari was executed on September 12, 2020, after enduring a controversial trial marred by inconsistencies and accusations of torture that occurred during Raisi's tenure. His execution, amid international condemnation, became a symbol of the regime's oppressive tactics against dissent and its punitive measures against those who dare to challenge its authority.  

U.S.-IRAN RELATIONS & NEGOTIATIONS 

US Says It Was 'Unable' To Provide Iran Assistance After Helicopter Cash | Reuters 

The United States on Monday said it had been unable, due largely to logistical reasons, to accept an Iranian request for assistance following a helicopter crash over the weekend that killed President Ebrahim Raisi, as Washington offered its condolences. The rare request from Iran, which views the United States and Israel as its main adversaries, was disclosed by the State Department at a news briefing. "We were asked for assistance by the Iranian government. We did make clear to them that we would offer assistance, as we would do in response to any request by a foreign government in this sort of situation," spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters. "Ultimately, largely for logistical reasons, we were unable to provide that assistance," Miller said, without elaborating. The charred wreckage of the helicopter which crashed on Sunday carrying Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and six other passengers and crew, was found early on Monday after an overnight search in blizzard conditions.  

Yellen To Call For US, Europe To Stand Together On Russia, Iran | Reuters 

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will call on Tuesday for Europe and the U.S. to stand together against Russian aggression and Iranian "support for terrorism", including finding a way forward to unlock the value of frozen Russian sovereign assets to aid Ukraine. Yellen, in excerpts of her planned speech on the transatlantic alliance released on Monday, said U.S. and European support for Ukraine has been essential for Ukraine's resistance to Russia's invasion. "And let me be clear: It is also critical for the security of the American and European people," Yellen said in the excerpts. "If we stand by as dictators violate territorial integrity and flout the international rules-based order, they have no reason to stop at their initial targets. They will keep going." 

The One Thing US Fears After Iranian President’s Death | Politico 

The Biden administration is closely watching how Iran reacts to the sudden death of its president, expecting the regional status quo to hold while still wary that one allegation could escalate tensions with Israel. For now, senior U.S. officials expect few — if any — changes in the way of Iran’s policies before the Islamist-led country elects a new president following the weekend helicopter crash that killed Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, 85, remains the country’s top authority. The immediate political uncertainty revolves around who will be elected the next president, a constrained process effectively controlled by the country’s hardline clerical leaders. A more long-term question — one Iran is likely better prepared for — is who will succeed Khamenei as supreme leader: Raisi had been a potential candidate and his death adds more succession uncertainty. 

IRANIAN INTERNAL DEVELOPMENTS 

After Raisi’s Death, Iran Wrestles With Two Succession Challenges | The Wall Street Journal 

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s death has dealt an unsettling blow to the country’s politics and raises questions regarding the succession of not just the presidency, but also the most powerful position in the country—that of supreme leader. Raisi, who died in a helicopter crash over the weekend along with Iran’s foreign minister, was widely seen as a potential successor to the current top figure, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is 85 and has a history of illness.  

Iran Moves To Project Stability After Crash Kills Key Leaders | The New York Times 

Iran sought to project a sense of order and control on Monday by quickly naming an acting president and foreign minister a day after a helicopter crash killed both leaders. The change in leadership came at a time of heightened tensions in the Middle East and domestic discontent in Iran, where many residents have called for an end to decades of repressive clerical rule. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, announced five days of mourning for the president, Ebrahim Raisi, 63, and the foreign minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, 60, who died when their helicopter plunged into a mountainous area near the Iranian city of Jolfa. The men had been returning from Iran’s border with Azerbaijan after inaugurating a joint dam project. Iran’s Armed Forces said they had created a committee to investigate the crash, which state media attributed to a “technical failure.”Mr. Raisi, a hard-line cleric who came of age during the country’s Islamic revolution, oversaw a deadly crackdown on protesters as the head of the judiciary in 2019 and as president in 2022. He had been widely viewed as a possible successor to Mr. Khamenei, 85.  

In Divided Iran, President's Death Met By Muted Mourning And Furtive Celebration | Reuters 

Iran proclaimed five days of mourning for President Ebrahim Raisi on Monday, though the muted atmosphere revealed little of the spectacular public grief that has accompanied the deaths of other senior figures in the Islamic Republic's 45-year history. While government loyalists packed into mosques and squares to pray for Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian, both killed in a helicopter crash, most shops remained open and the authorities made little effort to interrupt ordinary life. A year after Raisi's hardline government cracked down violently to end the biggest anti-establishment demonstrations since the 1979 revolution, opponents even posted furtive video online of people passing out sweets to celebrate his death. Laila, a 21-year-old student in Tehran, told Reuters by phone that she was not saddened by Raisi's death, "because he ordered the crackdown on women for hijab." "But I am sad because even with Raisi's death this regime will not change," she said.  

RUSSIA, SYRIA, ISRAEL, HEZBOLLAH, LEBANON & IRAN 

Worry In Damascus, Joy In Rebel Areas At Raisi's Death | AFP 

Tehran has been a key ally for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and housewife Hazar Mazhar said "everybody is talking about the news, but I don't know if what happened will impact us, or what the coming days will bring." "I'm afraid of the impact on the economy... I hope this incident doesn't affect our livelihoods," the 49-year-old said. People had been glued to screens since the news erupted that Raisi's helicopter had gone missing on Sunday as he and his entourage were returning from a border meeting with Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev to inaugurate a dam. News of the crash "was a shock", said Nizar Jammul, 29, from a cafe in the Syrian capital.  

Russia Stresses Strong Ties With Iran As Putin Calls Interim President | Reuters 

Russian President Vladimir Putin phoned Iran’s new interim president on Monday as Moscow made clear its desire to preserve and build on its deepening relationship with Tehran despite the sudden death of President Ebrahim Raisi. The Kremlin said Putin expressed his condolences to interim president Mohammad Mokhber and to the whole Iranian people over Raisi’s death in a helicopter crash, describing Raisi as a “reliable partner who made an invaluable personal contribution” to bilateral relations. “Both sides emphasized their mutual desire to further consistently strengthen comprehensive Russian-Iranian interaction for the benefit of the peoples of the two countries,” the Kremlin said in its readout of the Putin-Mokhber call.