Iran is about to witness more tension in the following days before the presidential elections, especially with the exemption of radical figures from the presidential race, led by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the former president, who threatened, if excluded, the guide to divulge the regime’s secrets that directly affect “Ali Khamenei”.
Far from the threats of Ahmadinejad, according to Milad Hedayati the political analyst, the exclusion of the Iranian Guardian Council, which is loyal to the Supreme Leader, as well as excluding powerful potentials candidates from the election, are both attempts to clear the square in favor of the radical candidate Ebrahim Raisi, head of the judiciary, to win the elections.
It is noteworthy that two Iranian presidential candidates have announced their withdrawal from the Iranian presidential election race in favor of Raisi. The candidates are: the Brigadier General, Hossein Dehghan, the advisor to the supreme leader for military industries and Rostam Ghasemi, the assistant commander of the Quds Force.
In view of recent developments, Hedayati emphsizes to the need to think about the possibility of Raisi winning the presidential elections since he is one of the most conservative ultra-conservatives in Iran and the godfather of executions and adopts an aggressive policy towards the neighboring Arab countries.
Despite the great power the supreme leader wields within the decision-making circles, Hedayati confirms that if Raisi won, he would be an extraordinary president of the country and have some power in the decision-making process, unlike his predecessors “Ahmadinejad”, “Rouhani”, and “Khatami,” who were completely subject to the authority of the Supreme Leader. Hedayati points out that the term of “Raisi”, if completed, would restore the competitive situation between the president and the supreme leader considering that this rivalry was prevalent during the rule of the former president, “Hashemi Rafsanjani.” In addition to that, Raisi is one of the most prominent candidates to succeed Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
In the same context, informed sources reveal to the MENA MONITOR that Raisi enjoys great support from the wings of the deep state in the country. The sources mention that in 2018, a delegation of senior Revolutionary Guard commanders, influential religious figures and businessmen visited Raisi. The visit was as if it were an allegiance to him in the event that he decides to run to succeed the Leader.
The sources also clarify that the supreme leader’s support for Raisi in the elections might be as a result of an agreement on a political settlement between the two parties. This agreement is plausible since Raisi will be a potential opponent facing the idea of “Khamenei” inheriting his position to his son, Mojtaba.
What if “Raisi” won?
According to, Raad Majali, the expert on Middle East affairs, the most important question in the Iranian presidential elections centers on the results of Raisi’s arrival to the presidency. Majali considers that the stability in the Middle East would be the most affected at that time.
Majali points out that in addition to the radical and aggressive policy towards the countries of the region, Raisi adopts the complete “Khomeini” approach in the principle known as exporting the Iranian revolution” and the Persian project. The expert, Majali, explains that Raisi’s arrival to power means tightening the fundamentalists’ grip on power in the country, and also a complete absence of the reformist movement and those calling for more peaceful policies and rapprochement with neighboring countries. Raisi’s rule would bring that, especially since the radicals fully control the House of Representatives and the position of advisor and military leaders.
Majali also believes that the victory of Raisi would mean that Iran is heading to provoking more crises and escalation in the Middle East in particular. Additionally, Iran would try to use the principle of creative chaos in the region as negotiating papers with the West regarding sanctions, the nuclear file and the missile arsenal. Thus, the next government, under Raisi’s rule, would be practically a government of war.
In the same context, Majali warns of major setbacks to the security situation in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. These countries would practically be Iranian areas of operations in the near future if the expectations were correct and Raisi came to power. Majali draws attention that the Raisi may push towards both tightening the control of sectarian militias in Iraq and Syria and raising the support for Hezbollah in Lebanon. These procedures would mean more tension that may extend to political assassinations and physical getting rid of Iran’s opponents in those countries.
The bottom line, Majali points out that the Arab countries should prepare for real clashes with Iran in the event that Raisi is declared president of the Republic of Iran. To support his attitude, Majali clarifies that Raisi is one of those who reject the recent amendments to his country’s policy such as the attempts to open up to the Arab countries and follow the path of negotiations along with the international community.
For the past years, the reformists were controlling the government and the presidency under Hassan Rouhani’s rule. At the time, many demonstrations against the regime took place accompanied by consequences resulted from the assassination of, Qassem Soleimani, the former Quds Force commander. Reda Istanbouli, researcher on Iranian affairs, considers that the radical line in Iran is seeking to rebuild itself and the state the same as inherited from Ali Khomeini. The radical line is also looking to confront popular uprisings and overcome the effects of Soleimani’s absence. Istanbouli points out that the changes in the internal and regional arena have been a wake-up call that warned the radicals about the possibility of them losing control over the country and its power in the Middle East.
During his interview with the MENA MONITOR, Istanbouli counts several factors that may help in the election of a Raisi and deepen the control of fundamentalists in Iran. First and foremost of which is the unprecedented pace of demonstrations and protests in Iranian cities over the past five year. In addition, the exacerbation of the internal Iranian situation, which has become a threat to the regime’s entity. The researcher on the Iranian affairs considers that Iranian radicals are currently tending to strengthen the security forces in the country, specifically that Raisi is one of the most infamous and brutal figures in death squads and executions in Iran.
On the regional scene, Istanbouli explains that the decline of Iranian power in Iraq, the arrival of Mustafa Al-Kadhimi to power in Baghdad, the exclusion that chased Iran’s men in the Iraqi government, the state of conflict among the Iranian-backed Iraqi militias, and the killing of “Soleimani” are all factors that have showed the need for a more militant, repressive, brutal and tougher president. Istanbouli relevantly demonstrates that what is required from the next president in Iran is to restore matters in Iraq to normal. And that may also require carrying out assassinations in Iraq that may affect the leaders of the first row in the Iraqi state.
In Syria, Istanbouli believes that matters are not much different from Iraq, pointing out that Iran is currently engaged in a conflict under the ashes with its Russian ally. However, Iran’s radicals have warned about the necessity for the regime inherited from “Khomeini” to renew its skin and to establish its intellectual ideology in Iran. They have also encouraged entering with great momentum against the Russian competitor.
Istanbouli concludes by highlighting that Iran is going through a transition period quite similar to the period it has been through with Khomeini’s arrival to power. Istanbouli indicates that “Raisi” may be the leader of a movement to consolidate fundamentalism in Iran again and produce a more militant regime than the regime produced by Khomeini.
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