VIDEO: Iran in the Wake of President Raisi’s Demise

VIDEO: Iran in the Wake of President Raisi’s Demise

Following the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash earlier in May, Iran is preparing for an election on June 28 to choose a successor. This choice could have implications for the succession to Iran's 85-year-old Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, given that Raisi was considered a contender for that role.

Who are potential candidates to succeed Raisi, and what could the Guardian Council do to restrict the field? How could Raisi’s succession affect the relationships between other political and economic players in Iran, including the Revolutionary Guard (IRGC)? Could it change Iranian foreign policy? What about Iran’s nuclear program?

On May 31, the Center for the National Interest hosted a virtual discussion of these issues with two leading experts on Iran.

Dr. Hamidreza Azizi is a Visiting Fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin. He was an Assistant Professor of Regional Studies at Iran’s Shahid Beheshti University (2016-2020) and a guest lecturer at the Department of Regional Studies at the University of Tehran (2016-2018). His research interests include security and geopolitical issues in the Middle East and Central Eurasia, Iran’s foreign policy, and Iran-Russia relations. Azizi holds a Ph.D. in Regional Studies from the University of Tehran.

Alex Vatanka is the founding Director of the Iran Program at the Middle East Institute, a Senior Fellow in Middle East Studies at the US Air Force Special Operations School (USAFSOS) at Hurlburt Field, and an Adjunct Professor at DISAS at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. He was formerly a Senior Analyst at Jane’s Information Group in London. Born in Tehran, he holds a BA in Political Science (Sheffield University, UK) and an MA in International Relations (Essex University, UK) and is fluent in Farsi and Danish.

Greg Priddy, Senior Fellow for the Middle East at the Center, moderated the discussion.

Image: photosince /