ENGLISHآسياأخبار العالمالشرق الأوسطبحوث ودراسات

The Assassination of Ibrahim Raisi: Weakening Iran from Within

The uncertainty surrounding the fate of the Iranian president and several officials lasted only a few hours before the helicopter was found crashed in the northwest of the country. Iranian Vice President for Executive Affairs, Mohsen Mansouri, confirmed that all those on board were killed after the helicopter crashed due to an accident in a mountainous area near the border with Azerbaijan amid severe weather conditions.

This incident has sparked numerous questions at various levels about the causes of the crash and the factors behind the president’s death. Amidst this, the international community is rife with accusations and analyses regarding who stands to benefit from the Iranian president’s death and whether the accident was indeed due to unstable weather conditions, as claimed by certain leaderships.

American media outlets have provided a range of explanations for the helicopter crash, dismissing the possibility of foul play. They described Iran as an isolated country with many infrastructure issues, particularly with its aviation capabilities. They highlighted a similar incident in previous years where military leaders and officials died, suggesting that this negates any foreign intervention in the president’s death. The helicopter, according to reports, was flying through a foggy, rugged mountainous area in northwestern Iran amid dense fog, winds, and heavy rain, which impeded all efforts to locate it. These weather conditions have been the primary explanation used by those suspected of causing the crash.

The crash occurred nearly two months after Iran launched its first-ever direct attack on Israel, firing more than 300 ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and drones. This was in retaliation for an airstrike by the occupying state against the Iranian consulate in Damascus in early April, which killed seven Revolutionary Guards commanders, including Mohammad Reza Zahedi, the commander of these forces in Syria and Lebanon.

Israel’s response to Iran’s bold, unprecedented attack was considered weak, with many analysts describing it as merely a “symbolic response.” Israel conducted an attack using drones on an airbase and a nuclear site near Isfahan in central Iran.

International media have pointed out that the crash site does not rule out Israel’s involvement in the death of the Iranian president. The helicopter fell in a mountainous forest near the border with Azerbaijan, a country considered “the least friendly of Iran’s neighbors” due to its close ties with Israel and its extensive history of cooperation with the Mossad.

Algerian intellectual and media figure Dr. Yahya Abu Zakaria pointed out on his Twitter account the nature of relations between Iran and Azerbaijan, describing Azerbaijan as a “faithful friend of Israel.” He noted that the relationship was strained due to Tehran’s enmity with Israel and the significant Mossad activity in both countries. Abu Zakaria suggested that Israel was not acting alone in this alleged sabotage but was driven and supported by the United States. He argued that the US and its allies, unable to confront Iran externally, saw their interests in the Gulf threatened and aimed to destroy Iran’s leadership from within. He mentioned that this strategy was outlined with the involvement of various parties, including former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

An Iranian opposition group in exile described Raisi’s assassination as a “major strategic blow” to the Iranian regime, one that could create deep crises within Iran’s executive branch. This internal turmoil would distract Iran from its external objectives of targeting America and Israel, focusing instead on internal conflicts. The possibility of internal Iranian factions collaborating with external parties for personal gain is not far-fetched, potentially leading to popular unrest against the leaders, which would serve American and Israeli interests.

Maryam Rajavi, head of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, stated in a statement published on the group’s website that the incident represents an “irreparable strategic blow” to Supreme Leader Khamenei and the entire regime. She added that Raisi’s death would have “consequences and crises for the entire theocratic regime, pushing protesters forward.”

The National Council of Resistance of Iran is a major opposition organization outside Iran and the political front for the Mujahideen-e-Khalq, which Tehran classifies as a “terrorist” organization.

On the other hand, if Israel’s involvement in Raisi’s death is confirmed, it could trigger widespread conflicts in the region, according to experts and military analysts. This might lead to retaliatory attacks by Iran-backed armed groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Houthis, resulting in a cycle of attacks and counterattacks.

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