Who is Mohammad Mokhber, the man set to become Iran’s interim president?

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was declared dead after a helicopter crash in a fog-shrouded region.

Mausam Jha
First Published20 May 2024
An Iranian man looks at a newspaper with a picture of the late Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran, Iran May 20, 2024. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS
An Iranian man looks at a newspaper with a picture of the late Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran, Iran May 20, 2024. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS(via REUTERS)

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was declared dead on Monday after rescue teams found his crashed helicopter in a fog-shrouded western mountain region.

“The servant of the Iranian nation, Ayatollah Ebrahim Raisi has achieved the highest level of martyrdom while serving the people,” state TV declared, showing pictures of Raisi as a voice recited the Koran.

Meanwhile, Iran's first vice president, Mohammad Mokhber, is expected to become the interim president.

What does the Iranian constitution say?

According to Article 131 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, “In case of death, dismissal, resignation, absence, or illness lasting longer than two months of the President, or when his term in office has ended, and a new president has not been elected due to some impediments, or similar other circumstances, his first deputy shall assume, with the approval of the Leader, the powers and functions of the President.”

Also Read: Who was Ebrahim Raisi? Protégé of Iran's supreme leader Ali Khamenei

“In case of death of the first deputy to the President, or other matters which prevent him to perform his duties, or when the President does not have a first deputy, the Leader shall appoint another person in his place,” it noted.

Who is Mohammad Mokhber?

Here are some key facts about Mohammad Mokhber, 68, Iran's first vice president who is expected to become interim president:

1. As interim president, Mokhber will be part of a three-person council, including the parliament speaker and the judiciary head. This council is responsible for organizing a new presidential election within 50 days of the president's death.

2. Born on September 1, 1955, Mohammad Mokhber, like Raisi, is considered close to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who holds ultimate authority in all state matters. Mokhber was appointed as first vice president in 2021 when Raisi was elected president, Reuters reported.

3. Mokhber was part of a delegation of Iranian officials who visited Moscow in October and agreed to supply Russia's military with surface-to-surface missiles and additional drones, sources told Reuters at the time. The delegation also included two senior officials from Iran's Revolutionary Guards and a Supreme National Security Council official.

Also Read: Iran adviser hints at nuclear doctrine shift and builds bomb amid Israel threats

4. Mokhber was previously head of Setad, an investment fund linked to the supreme leader.

5. In 2010, the European Union placed Mokhber on a list of individuals and entities sanctioned for alleged involvement in “nuclear or ballistic missile activities.” However, he was removed from the list two years later.

6. In 2013, the US Treasury Department sanctioned Setad and 37 companies under its control, adding them to a list of entities subject to US sanctions.

7. Setad, formally known as Setad Ejraiye Farmane Hazrate Emam (the Headquarters for Executing the Order of the Imam), was established by an order from Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic and predecessor of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The organization was tasked with selling and managing properties that were purportedly abandoned during the chaotic years following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, with the primary objective of directing most of the proceeds to charitable causes.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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