June 21, 2024
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Death of Iranian president and its implications on global politics

Late Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi - File Photo
By Muhamamd Asif
By Muhamamd Asif

The sudden death of Ebrahim Raisi, the 63-year-old Iranian president who died in a helicopter crash on May 19, is a complex and significant incident in global politics. He was the successor to the supreme leader, and this would have serious implications at this time of turmoil due to the Gaza war, given Iran’s quarrelsome relationships with the west, its role in regional dynamics, and the strategic position it has in the Middle East.
Since 1979 (the Iranian Revolution), Raisi has been known as a protégé of Khamenei. In 2021, he became the president of Iran. Raisi’s presidency has both consequences and causes of societal chaos and legitimacy crises. There are serious concerns in Tehran that go beyond the human tragedy of the helicopter crash. This will not only raise domestic chaos but also international and regional confrontation. The long-term consequences and immediate impact of this event have multiple implications for global politics.
There is a war going on in the Middle East and Israel, and Raisi’s death is a moment of turbulence for Iran. Iran was expanding its regional influence through a nuclear program and proxy militia groups, followed by its exit from the nuclear deal with the United States. One of the top achievements in global politics was the restoration of ties with Saudi Arabia in 2023. It was a major shift in the foreign policy of Iran in the face of regional rivalry. Furthermore, Iran was also building strong ties with China and Russia. This is evident from Mr. Raisi’s recent visit to China, in which Iran secured a deal for $400 billion in discounted oil. Mr. Raisi also deepened military and security relations with Russia. It was reported that during the Ukrainian War, Iran sold drones to Russia, although this was neglected by Mr. Raisi. This shows how important the role of Mr. Raisi was in global politics. His speeches were like those of a preacher, and this is evident from an incident during which Mr. Raisi kissed the Holy Quran in front of the United Nations while he was addressing them.
In the recent Israeli attack on Gaza, militias were backed by Iran, which targeted Israel. In April, Iran itself attacked Israel with hundreds of ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and drones. Israel and its allies spent around $1.5 billion to shoot down the missiles. This shows how much Iran has an impact not only in the region but also on global politics. At this belated stage, the death of Mr. Raisi will result in a period of political uncertainty and instability within Iran. This is because the political landscape of Iran is greatly influenced by religious authority. This incident will generate a power struggle between hardliners, conservatives, and reformists.
In the Middle East region, it would also have implications for countries that have vested interests, like Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. This is because the instability in Iran would result in increased volatility in the whole region, and that would affect everything from the Gulf balance of power to proxy wars in Syria, Yemen, and Gaza. The rivals would benefit from the weakness of Iran, which would create new conflicts or escalate existing ones. This would also affect the regional allies and proxies of Iran, like Shiite militias across the region and Hezbollah in Iraq. The change in the Iranian presidency will also impact the strategy and support of these proxies, which would result in influencing global politics.
The death of Mr. Raisi has serious repercussions for international relations, especially for European powers and the United States in the context of the nuclear program. This is because there have been backdoor negotiations on the Iran nuclear program since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was suspended. So a hardline successor might increase the tensions with the United States. A part of this is that countries like Russia and China that have strong military and economic ties with Iran could present opportunities and challenges.
Economically, the death of Mr. Raisi can affect the global oil market. This is because Iran is one of the major producers of oil and has a key role in the oil price fluctuations that have implications for economies worldwide. So, it all depends on the response of the international community to the policies and leadership of Iran’s new presidency. So, this is a very critical time because in the past few years, the Iranians have faced repressive social movements, were shackled by sanctions, and the Raisi’s sudden death has shaken the political structure.
In sum, Tehran was breaking its isolation with its arch-foes by repairing ties with Gulf Arab powerhouses. The death of the Iranian president has far-reaching effects on global politics. It could affect regional power dynamics, domestic political instability, Iran’s nuclear program, and international economic sanctions. The current situation in Iran is serious because the outcomes will have severe implications for global politics.

About Author
Muhammad Asif is an emerging scholar in the fields of Political Science and International Relations and currently pursuing his MPhil at Lahore Leads University. He has earned certification in “The Moral Foundations of Politics” from Yale University. He is also a certified Statistics and Data Analyst from Imperial College London. Asif’s academic portfolio includes four research papers and two conference papers. He can be reached at [email protected].