Iran president Ebrahim Raisi and foreign minister dead in helicopter crash…

Just what we need, more instability in the Middle East. From the BBC:

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has been confirmed to have died following a helicopter crash in north-western Iran on Sunday, according to state media
Foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and several others are also reported to be among the dead
State media says the “hard landing” happened as hard-line cleric President Raisi was making his way to the city of Tabriz, after returning from the border with Azerbaijan
Before their deaths were confirmed, vigils took place in the capital, Tehran, with pictures showing people kneeling in prayer
The incident sparked a massive search operation that was hampered by bad weather conditions

He stood close to the pinnacle of power in the Islamic Republic and was widely tipped to rise to its very top.

A dramatic turn dealt him a different hand.

The sudden demise of President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash on Sunday has upended the growing speculation over who will eventually replace the 85-year-old Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei whose own health has long been the focus of intense interest.

The tragic fate of Iran’s hard-line president is not expected to disrupt the direction of Iranian policy or jolt the Islamic Republic in any consequential way.

But it will test a system where conservative hardliners now dominate all branches of power, both elected and unelected.

His opponents will hail the exit of a former prosecutor accused of a decisive role in the mass execution of political prisoners in the 1980s which he denied; they will hope the end of his rule hastens the end of this regime.

For Iran’s ruling conservatives, the state funeral will be an occasion freighted with emotion; it will also be an opportunity to start sending their signals of continuity.

Another critical position which must be filled is the seat held by this middle-ranking cleric on the Assembly of Experts, the body empowered to choose the new supreme leader, when that far more consequential transition comes.

It does appear to have been caused by bad weather but I am sure they are wondering if a certain neighbour of theirs had anything to do with it.

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