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India mourns tragic death of Iran’s President, Foreign Minister

02:13 AM May 22, 2024 IST | GK NEWS SERVICE
india mourns tragic death of iran’s president  foreign minister

New Delhi, May 21: India is in mourning following the tragic deaths of Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in a helicopter crash. The Indian national flag was flown at half-mast at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Tuesday as the country observed a day of national mourning to honour the deceased Iranian officials.


The Government of India declared a National Day of Mourning on May 21, 2024, to pay tribute to President Raisi and Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian. The national flag was flown at half-mast across all buildings where it is regularly displayed, and no official entertainment took place as a mark of respect.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar expressed their condolences. Modi highlighted Raisi’s contributions to India-Iran relations and conveyed India’s solidarity with Iran in this time of grief. Jaishankar recalled his meetings with Raisi and Amir-Abdollahian, emphasizing their roles in finalizing a long-term agreement on the Chabahar port, crucial for connectivity between India and Central Asia.


India recently signed a 10-year agreement to operate the Chabahar port, a strategic milestone for regional connectivity. Modi underscored the importance of this agreement in promoting trade and commerce in the region, reinforcing the collaborative efforts between India and Iran.


In Iran, a five-day mourning period has commenced. Ceremonies are being held at the Imam Reza Shrine in Mashhad, marking the abrupt end of Raisi’s career, known for his hardline conservatism and his potential as a successor to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.


The funeral process began Tuesday with prayers and a procession in Tabriz, the city where the helicopter crash occurred. Mohsen Mansouri, Iran’s vice president of executive affairs and head of the funeral planning committee, detailed the process, noting the transfer of the victims’ bodies to the holy city of Qom and then to Tehran.


On Wednesday, large ceremonies are planned at Tehran’s Grand Mosallah Mosque, with the day declared a public holiday to allow nationwide participation. Raisi’s body will then be moved to the Imam Reza Shrine in Mashhad, where Ayatollah Khamenei will lead prayers.


Further detailed ceremonies include funeral prayers at the University of Tehran, followed by a procession to Azadi Square on Wednesday morning. A ceremony honouring the martyrs with high-ranking foreign dignitaries is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. The residents of South Khorasan province will bid farewell to the late president on Thursday morning in Birjand. Finally, Raisi will be buried on Thursday noon in Mashhad. Several country heads and people who matter will attend the funeral ceremony.

Iranian authorities have appointed a commission, including military and technical experts, to investigate the crash’s cause. A high-ranking delegation will visit the crash site in Eastern Azerbaijan, as reported by Iran’s Tasnim news agency.

Presidential Elections in Iran Scheduled for June 28

As Iran enters a five-day mourning period following the death of President Ebrahim Raisi, the country has announced that presidential elections will be held on June 28, 2024.

Candidates can begin registering on May 30, with their eligibility to be vetted by the Guardian Council, a 12-member body of clerics and jurists responsible for overseeing elections. Meanwhile, Vice-President Mohammad Mokhber will assume the role of acting president in the interim.

Analysts suggest that Iran’s clerical establishment and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei may favour a successor similar to Raisi, known for his ultra-conservative stance. Historically, the Guardian Council has restricted reformist candidates, making it challenging for them to run in recent elections.

It is still unclear whether Vice-President Mohammad Mokhber will run as a candidate, but speculation about potential contenders has intensified. Many eyes are on Mojtaba Khamenei, the second son of Ayatollah Khamenei. Though rarely seen or heard publicly, Mojtaba Khamenei wields significant influence within Iran’s political landscape. At 55, he is a conservative hardliner with deep ties to the clerical and political elite, as well as the powerful Revolutionary Guard.

Despite his influence, many experts argue that appointing the Ayatollah’s son as his successor would undermine the legitimacy of Iran’s leadership system. They caution against turning the supreme leadership into a hereditary system, a move that could be seen as detrimental to the Republic’s principles.

The selection of Iran’s supreme leader requires unanimous approval by the Assembly of Experts. Until a new supreme leader is chosen, there is a possibility that a three- or five-member leadership council could be appointed to lead. The election process is expected to gain momentum next week, according to several political observers.