Change won’t come after Iran’s subsequent presidential election on June 18. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will stay the supreme decision-maker each earlier than and after the competition. While the personalities on the helm of Iran’s authorities might fluctuate, the insurance policies—particularly these which most concern the worldwide neighborhood—won’t. But it could be an oversimplification to recommend that the election doesn’t matter in any respect. It is feasible that the subsequent president of the Islamic Republic might very nicely be Khamenei’s final given his 82 years of age. Thus, the race is extra about succession and the constellation of energy than the rest.
There has been one game-changing growth up to now within the electoral course of—Chief Justice Ebrahim Raisi’s registration as a candidate. The consolidation of the electoral discipline from 592 registrants to seven qualifiers reveals a dedication to have a conservative candidate run and win, particularly after the disqualification of extra pragmatic and formidable candidates like Ali Larijani, who was the longest-serving speaker of parliament since 1979. Additionally, many onetime contenders—together with former senior commanders within the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps—have thrown their assist behind Raisi. Given the decrease profiles of the remaining candidates, the competition at this juncture is popping right into a Khamenei-orchestrated coronation of Raisi fairly than a marketing campaign.
Raisi’s rise has been nurtured by his relationship with Khamenei, household ties, in addition to a model constructed on anti-corruption which he has used to climb the ranks of Iran’s judiciary and past. His association with Khamenei harkens again to the start of the Islamic Revolution when Raisi met him whereas he was participating in a Khomeinist coaching course.
Both males are from Mashhad. The elevated tempo of Raisi’s promotions coincided with Khamenei’s elevation as supreme chief in 1989, transitioning from a provincial and deputy Tehran prosecutor—when he additionally served as a member of a dying fee which greenlit the executions of hundreds of political prisoners—to a nationwide platform as chief prosecutor-general of Tehran, head of the judiciary’s General Inspection Office, deputy chief justice and later legal professional common.
In 2016, Raisi’s fortunes considerably rose as he left the judiciary to steer Astan Quds Razavi, certainly one of Iran’s largest spiritual foundations and financial conglomerates. Such a place supplied Raisi with monetary, spiritual, and political visibility to additional promote his profession, resulting in an unsuccessful presidential run in 2017.
Along the way in which, Raisi, whose personal father died when he was 5, has additionally been capable of rely on his father-in-law, Ayatollah Ahmad Alamolhoda, to domesticate a household energy base in Mashhad—certainly one of Iran’s most necessary spiritual cities. Alamolhoda’s positions as a Friday Prayer Leader in Mashhad in addition to the supreme chief’s consultant in Razavi Khorasan Province have supplied a platform for Raisi to outlive and thrive within the Islamic Republic’s hierarchy.
In 2019, Khamenei named Raisi as Iran’s chief justice. He has additionally served as deputy chairman of the Assembly of Experts, which can ultimately choose Ayatollah Khamenei’s successor, additional growing his affect.
Is Iran’s Election a Selection?
Raisi enters the presidential fray with many benefits: title recognition as the top of the judiciary; earlier political expertise; connections with Iran’s supreme chief; and most importantly he’s seen as a number one contender to interchange Khamenei upon his demise. Indeed, throughout the marketing campaign, Raisi has been photographed in Khamenei-like types and settings—praying alone over martyrs’ gravesites and paying homage to the founding father of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini at his mausoleum. Furthermore, the Islamic Republic’s establishments are being deployed for his profit. Officials are warning candidates that they have to not cross the crimson line of insulting the judiciary throughout the marketing campaign – a place that Raisi conveniently maintains whereas campaigning and avoiding scrutiny.
Even earlier than the race began, Iran’s supreme chief left little doubt that the election was about succession. Media reviews indicated that Khamenei suggested the grandson of the founding father of the Islamic Republic, Hassan Khomeini, to forfeit any ambition of pursuing the presidency. This was a part of a longer-term technique by Khamenei to consolidate his personal energy, and in latest weeks he has humiliated and ostracized three of Iran’s main revolutionary households—the Khomeinis, the Rafsanjanis—Mohsen Hashemi, the son of the late President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, was additionally disqualified—and the Larijanis. This is all an try to shrink the internal circle of energy within the Islamic Republic so Khamenei can additional exert his management over the election and succession.
If Raisi wins the election, he might be thought-about by some as a pure successor to Ayatollah Khamenei. This is due to the precedent that Khamenei established when he took over after Ayatollah Khomeini died in 1989—Khamenei transitioned from the presidency to the supreme management. In resume alone, Raisi would outflank the competitors to function Khamenei’s inheritor. But even when he wins the presidency, there isn’t a assure he’ll turn out to be the Supreme Leader.
With the exception of Khamenei, Iran’s presidency has historically been a political dying sentence for its occupants. There are additionally different candidates on the scene who stay gamers in Tehran’s halls of energy—together with Mojtaba Khamenei, the supreme chief’s son, in addition to figures like head of seminaries Alireza Arafi. Indeed, their relevance might improve ought to there be an upset if Raisi loses the presidential race or standing if he wins.
However, a Raisi administration does assure that he would play a decisive position in the way forward for the Islamic Republic ought to Khamenei both turn out to be too in poor health to fulfil his duties or passes away. In addition to the presidency, Raisi will nonetheless be a member of the Assembly of Experts. These roles will present him—a trusted Khamenei protégé—with vital constitutional authority throughout an eventual management transition, no matter whether or not he turns into supreme chief.
Ultimately, the 2021 presidential contest in Iran is about far more than the subsequent 4 or eight years. It is in regards to the subsequent few many years of management choice and the preservation of the Islamic Republic.