After Raisi funeral, Iran’s focus turns to vote for successor

Tehran    -   After Iran mourned president Ebrahim Raisi, who died in a recent helicopter crash, the nation’s focus turns to an election next month for his successor, with the conservative camp seeking a loyalist to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The lead-up to the early vote on June 28 has opened up the field to a broad range of hopefuls from all political parties. The big question for them is how many candidacies will survive the vetting process in the Islamic republic. Ultraconservative Raisi, who had more than a year left of his first term, died on May 19 alongside his foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and six others when their helicopter crashed into a fog-shrouded mountainside. They were laid to rest in multi-day funeral rites drawing mass crowds of mourners. The June vote will be held during a turbulent time, as the Gaza war rages between Iran’s arch-foe Israel and Tehran-backed Palestinian militant group Hamas, and amid continued diplomatic tensions over Iran’s nuclear programme. Iran also faces sustained economic hardship, exacerbated by tough international sanctions reimposed after the United States withdrew from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal, and in the aftermath of widespread anti-government protests.

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