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As Iran heads to elections after Raisi’s death, hard-liners face legitimacy crisis

While the Iranian president's death in a helicopter crash may pose immediate questions about the country's future trajectory, little significant change is expected, as the ruling establishment's key workings remain strictly in the supreme leader's tight controls.
AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP via Getty Images)

TEHRAN — In the months to follow, Iran's political scene will be subject to unfolding developments, after the country's president, Ebrahim Raisi, died in a helicopter crash, along with several senior officials, including Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. 

Early on Monday, Raisi's body and those of eight others on board the chopper were recovered from a mountainous area in Iran's northwest, following a lengthy rescue operation hampered by severe weather conditions. 

Only two hours later, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the man with final say in Iran's domestic and foreign politics, invoked article 131 of the Iranian Constitution, under which Raisi's first deputy, Mohammad Mokhber, will be taking the helm for an interim 50-day period, when the establishment will be arranging an early election for Raisi's successor to be decided.  

A close ally of the supreme leader, Mokhber also chaired a cabinet meeting Monday, where the replacement to the late foreign minister was also named. Amir-Abdollahian's ultraconservative deputy and top nuclear negotiator, Ali Bagheri Kani, was approved to serve as acting foreign minister.     

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