19 Feb

Speculations indicate that Khamenei may appoint hardliner Ebrahim Raisi, who is accused of committing many crimes in Iran, as the next head of the judicial system succeeding Amoli Larijani, who was appointed head of the Expediency Council after the death of Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi. If this happen, the regime confirms once more its indifferent with feelings of the Iranian people and the international laws and norms.

In this context, the spokesman of the judicial and legal committee in the Shura Council Hassan Norouzi said that Ebrahim Raisi is going to be the next head of the judiciary system after Amoli Larijani. Moreover, a close associate of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Dolate Bahar, has also mentioned on his Instagram account that former presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi would succeed Larijani as head of the judiciary system and that Raisi is currently forming his own team to change and develop the judiciary.

Ebrahim Raisi has held several positions in Iran, despite all claims regarding his incompetent and disrespect to the lives of Iranian citizens. Raisi is a conservative cleric who is close to the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. In 1989, he served as deputy prosecutor in Tehran until 1994. He was then appointed vice-president of the judiciary system from 2004 until 2014. In 2016, he was appointed by Khamenei as the head of the Astan Quds Radawi Organization, which is considered the richest religious institution in the Islamic world. He is also a member of the Assembly of Experts. He has also held several positions including the Prosecutor of Karaj, west of Tehran and the head of the General Inspectorate of Iran in addition to his responsibility to decide on important judicial cases in some provinces such as Lorestan, Semnan and Kermanshah.

Ebrahim Raisi failed to win the elections in 2017 as the candidate of the hardline’s current who was defeated by the current President Hassan Rouhani. The goal of his bid to become a president was to present him as a powerful and influence figure inside the regime and the government and a key player from within the regime and on the domestic level. Raisi was successful in imposing his authority over the conservative party, which controls most of the state institutions and decision-making centers in the country, and the goal was to groom the people and set the suitable environment for his access to the position of the Supreme Leader after the departure of Khamenei, especially since Raisi has a strong relationship with Ali Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guard. In addition, the focus of the official media on Raisi shows behind-the-scenes preparations for his appointment as a supreme leader after Khamenei, joining Mujtaba Khamenei, the son of Ali Khamenei, as the most possible candidates for this position.

Raisi became well known in 1988, when he was one of the most important members of the so-called “Death Committee” which determined the fate of hundreds of thousands of opposition detainees and ordered mass executions of tens of thousands of political prisoners. These executions were the most secret events in Iran’s history which provoked angry domestic and international reactions that have echoed so strongly until now.

The audio tape of Hussein-Ali Montazeri, in which he accused Ebrahim Raisi of committing the most heinous crimes in the history of Iran, when he signed the death sentence in 1988 for tens of thousands of political prisoners in Iran, has provoked great reactions within the Iranian interior, bringing back the true black image of Ibrahim Raisi and other regime leaders who have wreaked havoc in Iran.

Recently, the name of Ebrahim Raisi has been widely mentioned inside Iran, amid speculation that he is being prepared by the Revolutionary Guard and the current Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, to be the third supreme leader of Iran. His appointment as head of the judiciary, replacing Amoli Larijani, comes as part of efforts to polish his image and prepare him for the job after being known for his reputation and bloody history in the “Death Committee” and to strengthen the power and influence of the hardline current and Revolutionary Guards in Iran and achieving all their goals.

In fact, the appointment of a hardliner as a leader of the most influential positions in Iran by Ali Khamenei means that there is a tendency to tighten the grip on all state institutions and to unleash them to tighten security restrictions on people and suppress any protest movement by force to ensure that any rebellion against the Supreme Leader and the Revolutionary Guard authorities is thwarted. This is a clear indication that the Iranian interior will be subjected to further pressures and restrictions and all forms of repression and persecution.

Al Mezmaah Studies & Research Centre

February 19, 2019