Ayatollah Khamenei names Mohkber as Iran’s interim president after Pres. Raisi’s tragic death in helicopter crash

Following the death of President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash last Sunday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has confirmed the appointment of Mohammad Mokhber as interim president.

Khamenei who wields ultimate power in Iran made announcement on Monday, hours after it was confirmed that Raisi had been killed in a helicopter crash.

Raisi was travelling with Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian who also died in the accident.

“In accordance with Article 131 of the constitution, Mokhber is in charge of leading the executive branch,” said Khamenei in a statement, adding that Mokhber will be required to work with the heads of legislative and judicial branches to prepare for presidential elections “within a maximum period of 50 days”.

The need to replace the governmental leadership is pressing as Iran remains in the midst of heightened tensions in the Middle East.

Israel’s war in Gaza has prompted lower-level conflicts with Iran-backed groups such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen. Last month, Iran and Israel swapped direct strikes at one another.

The appointment of Mokhber, who became vice president in 2021 when Raisi was elected president and is seen as being close to Khamenei, is in line with the constitution.

Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani, Iran’s lead negotiator on its nuclear programme, has been appointed as acting foreign minister following the death of Amirabdollahian.

Khamenei also announced a five days of mourning for President Raisi.

“I announce five days of public mourning and offer my condolences to the dear people of Iran,” said Khamenei in an official statement a day after the death of Raisi and other officials in the crash in East Azerbaijan province.

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