Who is Iran’s interim president?

State-run outlets in Iran reported on Monday the passing of President Ebrahim Raisi due to a helicopter accident, initiating constitutional protocols for appointing a successor to the presidency.

Under Iranian statutes, when a president passes away while in office, Article 131 mandates that the role be temporarily assumed by the first vice president, with Mohammad Mokhber currently in this position, pending endorsement by the supreme authority of the country, the Supreme Leader.

Moreover, it falls upon a council comprising the first vice president, the parliamentary speaker, and the judiciary chief to hold presidential elections within a timeframe not exceeding 50 days.

Let’s acquaint ourselves with Mohammad Mokhber, age 68, who steps in as the acting president following the demise of Ebrahim Raisi in an aviation mishap.

— Mokhber, as the acting president, is part of the tri-member council that is tasked with the coordination of the next presidential elections within 50 days post the president’s passing.

— With a birthday on September 1, 1955, Mokhber is recognized for his strong connections with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the ultimate authority on state matters. Mokhber’s ascension to the role of first vice president coincided with the election of Raisi as the head of state in 2021.

— Serving as a delegate part of a high-ranking team, Mokhber journeyed to Moscow in October and came to an agreement with Russian officials on supplying missiles and additional drones to their military, informed sources told Reuters. His colleagues included significant figures from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and the Supreme National Security Council.

— Displaying his administrative capacities, Mokhber formerly managed Setad, a foundation associated with the supreme leader.

— The European Union, citing alleged links to Iran’s nuclear or ballistic missile projects, sanctioned Mokhber in 2010, only to lift these sanctions two years later.

— In another round of sanctions, the U.S. Treasury Department included Setad and several affiliated companies to a sanctions list in 2013.

— The organization known as Setad, which translates into the Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order, was established pursuant to a directive by the founder of the Islamic Republic, Khamenei’s predecessor, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, to manage and monetize properties presumably left deserted during the turbulent period succeeding the 1979 Islamic Revolution, directing the major share of profits to charitable causes.

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