Mohammad Mokhber: Iran’s Acting President

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Mohammad Mokhber: Iran's Acting President

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, and several other government officials lost their lives in a helicopter crash on Sunday, plunging the country into a leadership vacuum amidst heightened regional tensions.

Following their deaths confirmed by state media on Monday, Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, the highest-ranking political and religious leader in the republic, announced five days of mourning and appointed Mohammad Mokhber as the new interim president.

Mokhber, Iran’s second-ranking official and its top-elected leader, is expected to serve temporarily, as the constitution mandates a new election within 50 days of a sitting president’s death.

According to Robin Wright, a joint fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Wilson Center, Raisi’s death may not immediately disrupt the country’s day-to-day operations but could significantly impact its long-term future, as the hardliner was seen as a potential successor to the 85-year-old Khamenei.

“There will be a process that’s in place, they will find a new president, but the scramble behind the scenes will be very, very interesting,” she told Morning Edition.

Mokhber, aged 68, is a member of the three-person council tasked with organizing the upcoming election. During a meeting on Monday, he reportedly encouraged top Iranian officials to maintain their duties without interruption, as per the Washington Post.

“The framework and foundations of the system are strong, and there will not be the slightest problem in the administration of the country under the permanent shadow of the leadership,” Mokhber said.

Most recently, he held the position of first vice president of Iran, the most senior among a dozen such roles.

Despite holding several prominent positions in Iran’s government and charitable foundations, including those linked to Khamenei, he has maintained a relatively low profile.

He has also been sanctioned by both the U.S. and European Union.

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