Ebrahim Raisolsadati’s Rise to Power: A Deep Dive into His Political Journey

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Political Views

Ebrahim Raisi was widely considered a hardliner in Iranian politics. He strongly supported sex segregation, advocating for a workplace environment where women could work in a “totally relaxed atmosphere.” In a 2014 interview, he praised the planned segregation in Tehran Municipality, stating that it would improve women’s job performance. Raisi was also a proponent of the Islamization of universities, internet regulation, and censorship of Western culture. He viewed economic sanctions as an opportunity for Iran, rather than a setback.

Raisi emphasized the importance of “guidance patrols” for managers, suggesting that proper governance would lead to societal well-being. He defended the amputation of thieves’ hands as an “honor,” reflecting a strict interpretation of Sharia law, and stated that such punishments would continue. He expressed pride in his involvement in the 1988 mass executions of political prisoners in Iran, seeing it as a significant achievement.

In November 2019, Raisi was one of nine Iranian officials sanctioned by the U.S. Department of State for alleged human rights abuses. The U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control also sanctioned him under Executive Order 13876. International human rights organizations and United Nations special rapporteurs accused him of crimes against humanity. A formal request was made to arrest Raisi for these crimes if he attended the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Scotland.

Economy

PM in a bilateral meeting with the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Dr. Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi during the 15th BRICS Summit at Johannesburg, in South Africa on August 24, 2023.

In 2017, Ebrahim Raisi emphasized the importance of a resistance economy as the sole path to eradicating poverty and deprivation in Iran. He advocated for prioritizing the development of the agricultural sector over commercial retail, arguing that this would ultimately benefit foreign brands less and bolster the domestic economy.

During the same year, Raisi made several economic promises, including tripling the monthly state benefits from Rls.450,000 per citizen. He aimed to address corruption and create six million jobs. Regarding sanctions against Iran, Raisi viewed them as an opportunity for economic empowerment, insisting that the country should strengthen itself rather than fall short due to external pressures.

On the topic of lifting sanctions, Raisi asserted that any government taking office should prioritize removing oppressive sanctions and pursue this goal earnestly. He stressed that the neutralization of sanctions should be a key agenda item and argued that the economy should not be conditioned by external factors such as the coronavirus pandemic, floods, or sanctions.

Women’s Rights

In state-led media, Ebrahim Raisi stated that “no one has the right to violate the freedom and rights of girls and women” and that “it is incomplete to talk about culture and economy without the role of women.” He emphasized that “women’s rights are God-given, and the government should not only not lose this right, but it should also create the conditions for it to flourish.” He further noted that “in many spaces, women’s role-playing is empty, and women’s talent, creativity, initiative, and innovation can be used a lot.”

Despite these progressive-sounding statements, Raisi signed orders imposing stricter hijab restrictions for women in Iran. This move has been seen as contradictory to his earlier declarations about enhancing women’s rights and allowing their potential to flourish.

Intellectuals and Artists

Ebrahim Raisi has expressed strong views on the role of intellectuals and artists in society. He stated, “The intellectual of the society understands before the others and watches the threats of the society, and soon warns the society with his poetry and art and saves the society from falling asleep, like a muezzin.” Raisi emphasized that supporting the people of culture and art should not be merely verbal but should translate into tangible actions. He further noted, “Teachers are the true intellectuals of society and must observe and warn of harm; teachers are the identifiers and civilizers of society.”

Homosexuality

Ebrahim Raisi has made discriminatory remarks about homosexuality, referring to same-sex relations as “savagery.” The Center for Human Rights in Iran asserts that such rhetoric exacerbates prejudice and violence against LGBTQ+ individuals in the country. During a visit to Uganda, shortly after the country passed a law instituting the death penalty for homosexuality, Raisi stated, “I believe that this issue, and these strong attacks by the West against the establishment of families and against the culture of the nations, is another area of cooperation for Iran and Uganda.” He further added, “The Western countries try to identify homosexuality as an index of civilization, while this is one of the dirtiest things which have been done in human history.”

The Holocaust

Like other Iranian leaders, Ebrahim Raisi has publicly cast doubt on the historical authenticity of the Holocaust. When asked on CBS’s 60 Minutes if he believed the Holocaust happened, Raisi stated, “There are some signs that it happened. If so, they should allow it to be investigated and researched.”

Potential Successor as Supreme Leader

Ebrahim Raisi had been described as a “favorite and possible successor” to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, by several sources. In 2019, Saeid Golkar of Al Jazeera called Raisi “the most likely successor of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei” as Supreme Leader of Iran. In 2020, Dexter Filkins described him as “frequently mentioned” as a successor to Khamenei.

In 2024, Time magazine reported that Ebrahim Raisi and Mojtaba Khamenei, Khamenei’s son, were frontrunners for the position. Raisi’s death in a helicopter crash in May 2024 cut short his potential candidacy.

Death

Raisi with Ilham Aliyev at the border with Azerbaijan, hours before his death

On 19 May 2024, Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, and several other officials were killed when Raisi’s helicopter crashed near the village of Uzi in East Azerbaijan province. Iran’s semi-official news agency, Mehr News, described them as having been “martyred in the crash.” Raisi was the second president of Iran to die in office, following Mohammad-Ali Rajai, who died in a 1981 bombing.

Following confirmation of Raisi’s death, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared five days of national mourning. Hundreds gathered in Vali-e-Asr Square to mourn the president. At a meeting of the Assembly of Experts on 21 May, a flower-ringed portrait of Raisi was placed on his seat.

Leaders and officials from several countries and international organizations extended their condolences and sympathies. The United Nations Security Council stood for a minute’s silence for Raisi. His death received mixed reactions among the public in Iran, with some mourning and others celebrating. Police in Tehran warned that anyone who appeared publicly happy about Raisi’s death would be prosecuted.

Funerals for the victims began on 21 May in Tabriz. A procession of the remains, carried on a lorry, was attended by crowds estimated to be in the tens of thousands, who were addressed by Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi. Raisi’s and Amir-Abdollahian’s remains were then taken to Tehran and transported to Qom before being returned to Tehran University for another funeral ceremony on 22 May, presided over by Khamenei.

The ceremony was attended by Mokhber and foreign dignitaries, including Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, and a delegation from the Taliban regime of Afghanistan led by Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi. The Tehran funeral ceremony was estimated to have had tens of thousands in attendance.

The procession down Tehran’s main boulevard was followed by hundreds of thousands. However, the funeral service turnout was noticeably lower than that of Iranian Revolutionary Guard general Qassem Soleimani in 2020. Raisi’s remains were taken to Birjand on 23 May before being transported to his hometown of Mashhad, where he was buried on the same day at the Imam Reza shrine. Government offices and private businesses were ordered to be closed on 22 May.

Days of mourning were declared in Bangladesh, Cuba, India, Lebanon, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Syria, and Turkey. British Minister of State for Security Tom Tugendhat said that he “will not mourn” Raisi, adding that his “regime has murdered thousands at home, and targeted people here in Britain and across Europe.” United States National Security Council spokesman John Kirby described Raisi as “a man who had a lot of blood on his hands.

” Israel criticized the United Nations for holding a minute’s silence for Raisi, calling it a “disgrace.” Maryam Rajavi, the leader of the exiled dissident People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, said that Raisi’s legacy was marked by his role in the 1988 executions of Iranian political prisoners, and described the crash as a “monumental and irreparable strategic blow to the mullahs’ Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the entire regime,” which would trigger “a series of repercussions and crises” within its leadership. Taghi Rahmani, the husband of detained activist and Nobel laureate Narges Mohammadi, said Raisi’s death would not structurally change the Iranian leadership under Khamenei.

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