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Iran’s President Raisi Emerges as Contender for Supreme Leader Amid Crackdown

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi Emerges as Contender for Supreme Leader Amid Political Controversy

In a dramatic turn of events, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has found himself in the spotlight as a potential contender to be Iran’s next supreme leader following a helicopter crash in mountainous terrain on Sunday. Raisi’s rise to power has been marked by a clampdown on morality issues and a brutal crackdown on nationwide protests, solidifying his position as a key player in Iran’s political landscape.

Raisi, 63, came into power after winning an election in 2021, where his victory sidelined both conservative and moderate rivals who were disqualified by a hardline oversight body. This consolidation of power brought all branches of government under the control of hardliners loyal to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Raisi’s mentor, who ultimately holds the final say on major policies in Iran.

One of Raisi’s defining moments as president was his tough stance during negotiations to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, a move that was met with mixed reactions both domestically and internationally. While Raisi saw an opportunity to secure relief from U.S. sanctions in exchange for limited curbs on Iran’s nuclear program, his approach drew criticism from some quarters.

The recent chaos surrounding the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan and shifting policies in Washington have emboldened hardliners in Iran, further complicating the political landscape in the region. Raisi’s handling of domestic issues, including a crackdown on women’s rights and the violent suppression of protests, has also drawn scrutiny and condemnation from human rights groups.

Despite his controversial past, Raisi has garnered support from Khamenei and remains a trusted figure within Iran’s clerical hierarchy. However, challenges such as widespread protests against clerical rule and economic struggles exacerbated by Western sanctions could undermine his popularity in the long run.

As Raisi’s political career continues to unfold, his actions and decisions are likely to shape the future of Iran and its relations with the international community. Whether he will ascend to the position of supreme leader remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: Ebrahim Raisi’s influence in Iranian politics is far from over.

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