Iran expert Raz Zimmt of both INSS and the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center said that First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber would step into Ebrahim Raisi’s role as president if Raisi died, which the Islamic Republic confirmed on Monday morning.

Next, Mokhber, 69, would work with a special select staff and election authorities to hold new elections within 50 days.

Mokhber is said to have achieved his high position by running much of Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s finances for years. He is also a lead expert for the Ayatollah and Raisi on running a “resistance” economy to keep Iran afloat despite years of global sanctions.

He is also said to be deeply involved in corrupt patronage handouts to keep various constituencies close to the regime’s top leaders. He served in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps medical division decades ago.

Further, Mokhbar was one of Raisi’s first appointments when he was elected president in August 2021.

Sanctions against Mokhber

In 2010, the European Union sanctioned Mokhber for alleged involvement in “nuclear or ballistic missile activities,” though two years later, it removed him from the list.

Despite his removal by the EU, the US also designated Sina Bank, which Mokhber managed, in 2010 for being owned by the government of Iran.

Furthermore, in 2018, the US Department of Treasury sanctioned Sina Bank under counterterrorism authority Executive Order (E.O.) 13224. It revealed that Sina Bank financed the Basij, a volunteer paramilitary unit within the US-designated terrorist organization the IRGC, according to United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI).

In November 2020, UANI said that the US sanctioned the Mostazafan Foundation, also previously managed by Mokhbar and which owns most of Sina Banks shares, and pointed out that its affiliates expropriate wealth from Iranian citizens.

Although Raisi was not nearly as powerful as Khamenei, many analysts believed the Ayatollah was grooming him as his successor since Khamenei is 85 and has been in poor health for years.

It is far from clear that Mokhbar, as close as he is to Khamenei, will have Raisi’s standing. This could leave the question of Khamenei’s successor much more widely open than before, even as Raisi himself did not have a lock on the job.

One debate among analysts is whether another cleric like Khamenei will be the next supreme leader of the Islamic Republic or whether a senior official of the IRGC will try to form a new coalition of power brokers to take greater control from the cleric class.

Source » jpost