Iranian President’s Death Unlikely To Significantly Alter Country’s Foreign Policy, Analysts Say

The sudden death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash is not expected to significantly change the country’s foreign policy, according to analysts, as the Iranian presidency is not where the state’s true power lies.

“The President is in theory second-in-command within the Iranian state, but he doesn’t have the same sort of independence and ability to maneuver as presidents in many Western democracies do,” said Sanam Vakil, director of the Middle East and North Africa program at Chatham House. “He serves at the behest of Iran’s supreme leader.”

Nader Itayim, Mideast Gulf Editor at Argus Media, told CNBC that the relationship between Iran and the U.S., as well as with Israel, is unlikely to change due to Raisi’s death. “There’s wider issues at play between these countries and those are likely going to stay, those are deep rooted issues,” he said.

Some analysts expect a fair degree of continuity, while also noting that this could present an opening for Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to gain even more control over the country’s political direction. Over the next 50 days of the interim presidency, the IRGC’s role in Iran’s upper echelons of power is “going to remain intact and even potentially intensify,” according to Itayim.