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Deaths of Raisi and Amirabdollahian in helicopter crash unlikely to significantly affect Iran's political stability and foreign policy in the short-term


On 19 May Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi and Minister of Foreign Affairs Hossein Amirabdollahian were killed in a helicopter crash near Uzi in East Azerbaijan Province.

screengrab captured from a video shows the location of the wreckage of the helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his delegation in Iran on 20 May 2024. (Iranian Red Crescent Society/Anadolu via Getty Images) 


Short-term: In the short term, Iran's domestic security landscape and political stability are unlikely to be dramatically altered by the deaths of Raisi and Amirabdollahian owing to well-demarcated procedures related to succession and the presence of like-minded candidates to fill their posts.

Medium-term:  "In the medium term, and in accordance with Article 131 of the Iranian Constitution, Mukhbar, in co-operation with the Speaker of the Parliament, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, and the Chief Justice of Iran, Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Eje'i, is likely to organise presidential elections within 50 days from 20 May. 

Long-term: In the long term, the incident's ramifications are less certain at the time of publication. Janes assesses with a moderate degree of confidence that Raisi remained the most likely successor to Khamenei. This was due to Raisi's extensive alignment of views with Khamenei, and popularity among Iran's conservative voter base and security forces, including the IRGC. The absence of a strong candidate for the post of supreme leader will likely lead to Khamenei attempting to look for a successor and subsequently wielding his influence to bolster the political standing of the individual over the coming years.