Raisi death marks end of a criminal, further weakening of regime’s attempt to control Iranian people

In response to the death of several Iranian officials including the president on May 19, the left-wing Tudeh Party of Iran released the following statement. It has been translated from Farsi and edited slightly for context by PV staff.

After hours of silence, during which police forces were widely deployed in important cities of the country, Iranian media announced on May 20 that President Ebrahim Raisi, minister of foreign affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Imam Mohammad Ali Ale-Hashem of Tabriz, governor of East Azerbaijan Malek Rahmati, Raisi’s security guard and one of his bodyguards, and the flight crew of the helicopter carrying them were killed in an air accident on May 19, on the way back to Tabriz.

Raisi had traveled to Iran’s East Azarbaijan Province for the opening of the Giz Galasi hydroelectric complex, a joint project with Azerbaijan.

Iran’s “supreme leader” Ali Khamenei has approved first vice president Mohammad Mokhber’s assumption of the responsibilities of the presidency until elections are held. Mokhber will hold this position for two months – according to the constitution, presidential elections will be held within the next 50 days.

Who was Ebrahim Raisi?

Ebrahim Raisi was a criminal agent of the Islamic Republic of Iran, an agent who played a key role in killing freedom fighters in Iran during the last four decades.

This was exposed in the August 2015 publication of Ayatollah Hussein-Ali Montazeri’s speech about his meeting on August 24, 1987 with the “Death Commission” which the Islamic government sent to prisons. The commission included chief justice Hossein-Ali Nyeri, prosecutor Mortaza Eshraghi, deputy intelligence minister Mustafa Pourmohammadi, and deputy prosecutor Ebrahim Raisi.

Montazeri’s speech laid bare the vile and inhuman nature of Ibrahim Raisi and the rulers of the Islamic Republic. In the meeting he called the execution of political prisoners the biggest crime in the Islamic Republic until that time. Addressing the Death Commission members present, including Ebrahim Raisi, Montazeri said, “In my opinion this is the biggest crime that has been committed in the Islamic Republic since the beginning of the revolution, and in history, they will condemn us… and in the future, they will write you among the criminals of history.”

During the 1987 massacre, thousands of political prisoners from different political groups were sent to the death squads, on the orders of Ayatollah Khomeini and criminals like Ebrahim Raisi. In the course of this unprecedented massacre, the Tudeh Party of Iran lost a number of the most prominent leaders of the anti-authoritarian movement, prominent writers and translators, labour activists and leaders, patriotic officers and figures in the student and women’s movement.

Raisi’s presidency a period of mass unrest

After presiding over the criminal apparatus of the Islamic Republic’s “judiciary,” Raisi was appointed president of the regime in August 2021. The appointment followed the presidential election of June 2021, a vulgar show in which more than 52 percent of country’s eligible voters (and 74 percent in Tehran) did not participate. More than 4 million fake ballots were stuffed into boxes by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the security organs of the regime, on the orders of Ali Khamenei. Raisi “won” the election.

Raisi’s presidency was an era of intensifying protests by working people. This included widespread popular struggles against the government like the “Women, Life, Freedom” movement, as well as the increase in bloody repression of peaceful protests and widespread executions of dissidents and freedom fighters. It was also the peak period of the economic crisis with unprecedented inflation, tens of millions of Iranians dragged below the poverty line, increasing unemployment and the widening and deepening of the gap between poverty and wealth in Iranian society.

The government’s policies have created a much more difficult situation in the lives of the people. Like others before it and contrary to its own promises, Raisi’s government could neither change the declining trend of the country’s economy nor improve people’s working and living conditions. This is because this government continued three decades of the government’s neoliberal macro-economic model.

Iran’s legislative elections in March were boycotted on an unprecedented scale. Even according to the regime’s official statistics, more than 60 percent of voters did not participate and millions of spoiled votes were cast. In some cities, the number of spoiled votes was even higher than the votes received by the elected officials. This was the latest test of the “popularity” of Ali Khamenei and his criminal president.

As one of the main agents of the regime, and one who was being prepared by some powerful circles within Iran to succeed Ali Khamenei, Raisi’s death is a blow to the regime’s plans to control the extremely critical situation in the country. Ali Khamenei’s words on May 19 – “the Iranian people should not be worried, there will be no disruption in the work of the country” – indicates the leadership’s level of concern the very critical current situation.

For the people of Iran, and for the families and survivors of the horrible crimes of these mercenaries of reaction and tyranny, the only regret about Ebrahim Raisi’s death is that it denies any chance he will face justice.

The Tudeh Party of Iran has pointed out in recent months that today’s deep and wide gap between the majority of society and the ruling dictatorship cannot be repaired. The majority of the society, the working people, want fundamental political and social changes and to pass beyond this authoritarian regime. The Islamic Republic is decaying and is facing crises and difficult decisions about its survival. By intensifying the joint and united struggle of all the national and freedom-loving forces of the country, the way to end the dictatorial rule and establish a national and democratic government should be opened.

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