Latest Iranian helicopter incident: rescuers search for President Ebrahim Raisi after crash | World news

Ebrahim Rais was elected as the president of Iran in 2021.

Since then, the 63-year-old has ordered tougher morality laws, overseen a bloody crackdown on anti-government protests and pushed hard for nuclear talks with world powers.

He is under US sanctions in part because of his involvement in the mass execution of thousands of political prisoners at the end of the bloody Iran-Iraq war in 1988.

Under Mr. Rice, Iran is now enriching uranium to near weapons-grade levels and defying international inspections.

Iran has armed Russia in its war with Ukraine, and has also launched a massive drone and missile attack on Israel amid its war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

It also continues to arm proxy groups in the Middle East, such as Yemen’s Houthi rebels and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

In Iran’s dual political system, which is divided between the clerical establishment and the government, it is the supreme leader, not the president, who has the final say on all major policies.

But many see Mr. Rice as a strong contender to succeed his 85-year-old mentor, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has staunchly supported Rice’s main policies.

Our Middle East correspondent Alistair Buncall It says the president is a “major figure in Iran’s political and religious community” but “he is by no means universally popular.”

Protesters have criticized him and the government’s “tough attitude,” Bunkal explained, even though he is considered one of the fronts that could potentially take over as supreme leader.

Bunkal said Mr. Rice would be “instrumental” in many of Iran’s activities in the region.

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