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Iran's likely next president could take the country back to a dark past

June 14, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 21.2%. 2 min read.

Iran's political elite has decided that the next face of the Islamic Republic should be a figure steeped in its conservative roots and directly linked to some of the darkest chapters of its history.

Ebrahim Raisi, a hardline judiciary chief with a brutal record on human rights, is running virtually uncontested in this week's presidential election, after Iran's clerical rulers barred most of his rivals from the race to replace outgoing Hassan Rouhani.

Analysts said the election of Raisi, a close ally of Khamenei, could signal a clampdown on dissent domestically, and a return to a more closed off Iran globally, at a pivotal moment.

"Iran is becoming an even more repressive state and with somebody who has blood on their hands like Ebrahim Raisi [as President], you could see things going in a darker direction than we've seen in recent memory," said Holly Dagres, Iran expert and nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.

"Elections in Iran have never been free nor fair but they have tended to be competitive and quite decisive," said Trita Parsi, executive vice president of the Quincy Institute.

Echoing across online platforms were dismissals of Iran's "selection," rather than election, of their next president.

Many experts see this election as one of the by-products of former President Donald Trump's maximum pressure campaign against Iran, when the US pulled out of the nuclear deal even though Tehran had complied with the terms of the pact.

If Raisi wins the election, and with hardliners deeply entrenched in the judiciary, Iran's conservatives are set to control all three branches of government.

Historically, most of Iran's presidents have two four-year terms, and Raisi's tenure may not outlive Khamenei, who turns 82 next month.

If the Ayatollah dies or is incapacitated, experts say it could pave the way for Raisi, his longtime associate, to take the helm as Iran's Supreme Leader.

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