Iran President Raisi’s death has no significant impact, but succession crisis may arise:

Iran President Ebrahim Raisi’s death in a helicopter crash on Sunday (May 19) will not have a significant impact on the country, but may throw it into a succession crisis, experts said.

The Supreme Leader – a position currently assumed by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – is the most powerful political figure in Iran, not the president, noted Georgetown University Associate Professor of Middle East and Islamic Politics Nader Hashemi.

Raisi was widely considered to be a puppet of the supreme leader, and his election in 2021 was “effectively orchestrated by senior elements of the regime”, Hashemi told CNA’s Asia First on Tuesday. 

“It’s the supreme leader who really determines the broad contours of Iran’s domestic policy and foreign policy,” Hashemi said. 

“So the death of the president is not going to make a huge difference in terms of where Iran is headed, and what policies it’s pursuing.”

Although Iran has, in the past, had independent-minded and charismatic presidents who have been able to assert their will within the confines of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s constitution, the power of the presidency has significantly diminished, he added. 

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