Raisi inauguration reveals rifts in Iran institution

Per week after Ebrahim Raisi’s inauguration as Iran’s new president, questions are lingering and hypothesis rising over the absence of sure figures from the ceremony. Were they not invited or did they do not want to attend? Either approach, the seen absences communicate volumes about widening cracks within the corridors of energy in Tehran. 

Ahead of the Aug. 5 swearing-in ceremony, Iranian information retailers reported that invitees from 73 international locations had been to attend, together with 10 heads of state. Of them, solely the Iraqi and Afghan presidents made it. Next in seniority had been the prime ministers of Syria and Armenia.

Notably, there was a marked presence of representatives of the regional militant teams Iran is funding to strengthen an anti-Israeli “axis of resistance” and advance its controversial regional affect. The state TV’s stay broadcast repeatedly panned the digital camera over these friends: leaders of the Palestinian actions Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the deputy chief of Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the spokesperson for Yemen’s Houthi rebels, all seated within the first row subsequent to the Afghan and Iraqi presidents.

The day earlier than the inauguration, the state broadcaster’s web site reported {that a} delegation from Iran’s regional foe Saudi Arabia was set to hitch the occasion. There was later no rationalization given for the group’s absence. 

The solely senior Western official attending the ceremony was Enrique Mora, a high European Union diplomat who has additionally represented the bloc within the stalled talks between Tehran and main powers over the revival of the Iran nuclear deal. Unsurprisingly, Mora’s presence invited widespread criticism earlier than and after the ceremony rooted in accusations of human rights violations by Raisi.

Narges Mohammadi, an internationally famend and outspoken lawyer who has been repeatedly jailed by Iranian authorities, reminded the European diplomat in a public letter of the Islamic Republic’s “brutal and merciless crackdown against the defenseless people … whose blood reddened the streets.” Mohammadi was referring to the nationwide protests in November 2019 sparked by gas value hikes and the following authorities response that left a whole lot of Iranians lifeless. “My people and I will keep in our minds the day you attended” the inauguration, he warned.

Exiled Iranian rights activist Masih Alinejad additionally challenged Mora for endorsing “this mass murderer’s reign,” asking the European diplomat if he was equally “ready to listen to the families” of the November 2019 victims.

Ironically, Raisi described himself throughout his swearing-in speech as a defender of human rights, saying his authorities will get up for the oppressed, however didn’t deal with his alleged position within the execution of hundreds of political prisoners within the 1980s.

Iran’s hard-line ruling institution has additionally declined to make clear ambiguities relating to the absence of a number of senior figures who would have historically been a part of the ceremony. Former Presidents Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (2005-2013) and Mohammad Khatami (1997-2005) had been nowhere to be discovered. Both have been regularly remoted over their open criticism of the federal government. And the as soon as hard-line Ahmadinejad, who was the apple of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s eye, was barred from working for president prior to now two elections.

The case of the Larijani brothers was much more surprising. As chairman of the Expediency Council and member of the Guardian Council, Sadeq Larijani’s absence ought to have been out of the query. The similar holds true for his brother, Ali Larijani, who’s the longest-serving parliament speaker and a Khamenei adviser. Yet neither of the 2 had been seen on the swearing-in ceremony.

A detailed affiliate of Ali Larijani advised the Reformist outlet Etemad Online that the veteran nuclear negotiator might need been excluded solely due to COVID-19 pandemic-related restriction and the restricted house within the occasion. Still, amid no official rationalization, it was not instantly clear if the Larijanis had shunned the occasion to ship a message of discontent or it was the institution that blocked them from it.

While they nonetheless maintain vital positions, it’s an open secret that the as soon as highly effective brothers have fallen from grace, regularly and successfully being excluded from the inside workings of Iranian politics. For all his lengthy service and loyalty, Ali Larijani, a centrist, was disqualified from the June presidential race. His brother, Sadeq, regardless of being an ultraconservative cleric, has on numerous events spoken out towards the ruling elite and the highly effective Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Most notably, he revealed how the corps manipulated the vetting course of on the Guardian Council — of which he’s a member — the very council that voted to crush his brother’s bid for presidency.

Under Iran’s structure, the presidency require approval by the Guardian Council members. In an especially uncommon move, Sadeq Larijani didn’t present up on the council’s signing session on Raisi’s approval forward of inauguration day.

Having received Iran’s presidency in an election marred by the bottom turnout recorded in Iran’s historical past, Raisi is by all accounts dealing with a disaster of legitimacy. Perhaps the ruling hard-liners went out of their approach to make his inauguration a wonderful occasion that may overshadow questions on his legitimacy, reputation and rights report.

With all of the backlash, they appeared to have completed the brand new president extra hurt than good. The ceremony additionally publicly unveiled new outcasts from the Islamic Republic’s fast-shrinking inside circle.


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