Sat, July 3, 2021
Iranian President-elect Ebrahim Raisi is the only president sanctioned prior to the election by the United States. He has 48.8 percent of the lowest turnout ever in the 2021 presidential election since the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and becomes the 8th President of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Raisi is considered an ultra-conservative Shiite ideologue and a staunch acolyte of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The victory of Raisi will have a significant impact on the reshaping of regional policy in the Middle East and will also be the only way to survive the clerical representative system of rule in Iran.
The tenacity of the Iranian proxy war in the Middle East has made its rivals, particularly the Jewish archenemy Israel, uncomfortable. Iranian-backed militias – Hamas, Huti, Hezbollah – have gained considerable dominance from a regional perspective for political and tactical reasons. Israel and its henchman, the US, have embarked on an all-out war to curtail influence and destabilize Iran’s institutional strength. In this context, the 2021 presidential survey had enormous significance on how the Islamic Republic will negotiate the challenges ahead.
The Iranian president ranks second in the country’s political system, but the supreme leader is the only crucial instrument of state affairs. The presidency controls internal affairs such as law and order, the economy and state systems.
Raisi will take over in early August. Raisi is the protégé of the ultra-conservative Khamenei and a trusted sidekick of the conservative establishment, including its security and intelligence agencies. The regime will pave the way for controlling and influencing social activities, women’s freedom, social media and the press. Currently, Khamenei is 80 years old and if health problems arise, Raisi would be the perfect successor.
Iran is in a critical phase of political crisis. The general standard of living has fallen due to the deep economic crisis. US sanctions and government mismanagement have crippled Iran’s economy. Internal unrest and dissent endanger political stability. Foreign actors are intensely involved in destabilizing the current system in Iran.
In order to eliminate any internal or external challenge at a critical moment, the orderly allocation of members of the Guardian Council was staged to bring in a hardliner like Raisi. Now the regime will have absolute control over all centers of power.
Raisi’s first press conference made a weather tap on Iranian foreign policy. This regime will focus on building confidence among its neighbors and strengthening the influence of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in the region. The IRGC has tremendous influence in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen and Palestine.
Relations between Iran and the US and the EU will be strained. Israel has already expressed deep concern over the Raisi victory.
Another regional rival, Saudi Arabia, has intended its ice-breaking gesture after a secret ministerial-level meeting in Baghdad with Iran. Saudi Arabia understood the US strategy. The petrodollar is the only thing of interest to the US, and the recent withdrawal of the missile system from Saudi Arabia is turning this Gulf state into a reality.
What’s more, the Biden government feels a little uncomfortable with Saudi Arabia in terms of the Khashoggi murder, human rights violations and the Yemen war. Mr Raisi has praised the Lebanese militia group Hezbollah and criticized the normalization efforts mediated by Saudi Arabia between Israel and the Arab nations.
Russia and China have congratulated Raisi and pledged to help the economy out of the deep crisis. Turkey intends to take Tehran-Ankara relations to a new level. Qatar has ensured the economic vibrations for Iran. Syria and Iraq have continued to show solidarity and solidarity with Iran. Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, India and Pakistan showed great interest in a strategic partnership with this Persian Gulf.
Oil-rich Iran is also blessed with a long and extensive cultural history and strong traditional values. It has a strong impact on the regional context. The main religion in the Middle East has changed after coming into contact with Persian traditions.
The Persian-Shiite ideology is one of the most important offshoots of Islam worldwide. Historically, Iran has had a strong conservative society. IRGC has achieved great success in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) militia in the Middle East and saved Iranian society to indulge in the IS wave.
Here, too, we find that Iran’s strong cultural heritage becomes a savior for society at various times of crisis – the nationalization of the Anglo-Iranian oil company during the British era, Wahhabism, the Arab Spring, the latest wave of ISIS. In the past, Iran firmly rejected the intention of a progressive and open society of the Pahlavi monarchy and founded the Islamic Republic in 1979 through an Islamic revolutionary movement.
Nevertheless, the current global political scenario in the Middle East has created a mess. A sharp critic of the West, Raisi’s propensity for nuclear enrichment made a more complex political play in this theater. It’s too early to comment on such a queer quickie. It is the time that the very speculative narratives about the Middle East will dictate.
The author is a political and defense analyst and writes in Bangladeshi and foreign newspapers.