Ebrahim Raisi’s death changes everything. How will Iran respond?

Tense atmosphere in Tehran following the death of President Ebrahim Raisi.

The sudden death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has plunged Iran into a period of uncertainty, with significant implications for both domestic stability and international relations. This article explores the potential scenarios that could unfold in the wake of Ebrahim Raisi’s death, focusing on the impacts on Iran’s political landscape, regional dynamics, and global geopolitics.

Tense atmosphere in Tehran following the death of President Ebrahim Raisi.

Domestic Implications

Ebrahim Raisi’s death creates a power vacuum that could exacerbate existing tensions within Iran’s political elite. The Guardian Council, responsible for vetting candidates for high office, will likely play a pivotal role in determining his successor. The Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has historically maintained tight control over such processes, ensuring that only regime loyalists hold significant power​ (British Foreign Policy Group)​​ (Council on Foreign Relations)​.

Potential Successors: Among the potential successors are Mojtaba Khamenei, the Supreme Leader’s son, and figures within the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The IRGC, which already wields considerable influence over Iran’s military and economic sectors, might seek to consolidate power further during this transitional period​ (British Foreign Policy Group)​.

Public Unrest: Iran has been facing chronic economic issues and widespread public discontent, highlighted by recent protests. The government’s response to these demonstrations has often been harsh, suggesting that any political upheaval could lead to further unrest​ (Council on Foreign Relations)​. The legitimacy of the upcoming elections, already questioned due to low turnout and the disqualification of reformist candidates, may suffer further if the succession process appears manipulated​ (Council on Foreign Relations)​.

Regional Impacts

Iran’s foreign policy, especially its relationships with neighboring countries and its role in regional conflicts, is likely to be affected by this leadership change.

Iran-Pakistan Relations: Ebrahim Raisi had been working to improve ties with Pakistan, focusing on border security and economic cooperation. His death might stall these efforts, potentially destabilizing the already volatile border regions and impacting bilateral trade initiatives​ (Al Jazeera)​.

Conflict with Israel: Tensions between Iran and Israel could escalate. Iran has blamed Israel and the United States for various internal and external attacks, and Ebrahim Raisi’s death might be used to galvanize support against perceived external threats. The IRGC might intensify its support for proxy groups in Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen, further destabilizing the region​ (Washington Institute)​.

Global Repercussions

The global community will closely watch how Iran navigates this transition, particularly concerning its nuclear program and relations with Western countries.

Nuclear Deal Negotiations: The status of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, hangs in the balance. Ebrahim Raisi’s administration had taken a hardline stance, demanding guarantees that the U.S. would not withdraw from the deal again. His death might open the door for renewed negotiations or, conversely, lead to a more hardline approach if the IRGC consolidates power​ (Council on Foreign Relations)​.

Economic Sanctions: The international sanctions regime against Iran, particularly those affecting its oil exports and financial sector, will be a crucial factor. Any signs of instability or a more aggressive foreign policy could prompt a tightening of sanctions, further straining Iran’s economy and potentially leading to greater domestic unrest​ (Council on Foreign Relations)​.


1. What happens to Iran’s leadership after Ebrahim Raisi’s death? The Guardian Council and the Supreme Leader will likely influence the selection of Ebrahim Raisi’s successor. Potential candidates include Mojtaba Khamenei and high-ranking IRGC officials.

2. How might Ebrahim Raisi’s death impact Iran’s relationship with Pakistan? Ebrahim Raisi was working to strengthen ties with Pakistan. His death could disrupt ongoing negotiations and cooperation on security and economic issues, potentially leading to increased border tensions.

3. Will Ebrahim Raisi’s death affect the Iran-Israel conflict? Yes, it could exacerbate tensions. The IRGC may use this opportunity to intensify its support for proxy groups and retaliate against Israel and U.S. interests in the region.

4. How does this impact the Iran nuclear deal? The future of the JCPOA is uncertain. Ebrahim Raisi’s death might lead to renewed negotiations or a harder stance depending on who succeeds him and their political alignment.

5. What are the broader global implications? Global markets and geopolitical stability in the Middle East could be affected. Increased instability in Iran might lead to tighter economic sanctions and impact global oil prices.

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4 thoughts on “Ebrahim Raisi’s death changes everything. How will Iran respond?

  • Keith wong -

    Let me internal strife and fight at least keep their business internal instead of proxy stirring trouble

    • Thank you for your comment. We appreciate your perspective on the importance of managing internal conflicts.

      In light of Ebrahim Raisi’s death, the situation in Iran is indeed precarious. Internal strife, if not contained, can lead to significant instability, not just within Iran but also across the region. Historically, Iran has had a complex political landscape with various factions vying for power. If these factions cannot find a way to reconcile their differences internally, the risk of external actors exploiting these divisions increases.

      Proxy conflicts have been a persistent issue in the Middle East, often leading to prolonged regional instability. For Iran, keeping internal disputes from spilling over into neighboring countries is crucial. This would not only help maintain regional peace but also prevent external powers from meddling in Iran’s domestic affairs.

  • tamara_voluptatem -

    The impact on domestic policies and international relations could be significant.

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