«Raisi is a murderer and now there is a chance for Iran to change»

The death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who died in a tragic helicopter crash, along with Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and other political and religious figures, has sparked a series of mixed reactions within the country and internationally. While some Iranian citizens celebrate the news, seen as the end of an oppressive political regime, others reflect with caution on the complex geopolitical situation that characterizes the region due to the ongoing war in Gaza and the risk of escalation of violence with Israel, combined with internal tension resulting from the protests that began in September 2022. Reactions that reflect the deep internal and external divisions that characterize the country.

An Iranian student who preferred to remain anonymous for obvious security reasons described what is happening in Iran at the moment.

What is happening in Iran after the president's death?
«After the news of President Raisi's death on May 18th at 1pm (local time), people are celebrating and the government has already deployed many police forces along the streets to counter any protests. The hope we all have is to demonstrate freely without being hit by thousands of bullets fired by the soldiers of the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) responsible for defending the Republic from internal and external threats. The protests are made up of normal people and not soldiers and if someone starts shooting at the crowd with an AK 47 rifle there will be a massacre and the idea that someone could open fire on an unarmed crowd is frightening and unacceptable.”

How did the Iranian government react to the celebrations for the president's death?

«For many Iranians, Raisi's death represented a moment of joy and hope, an opportunity to initiate significant change in the country. But the state seems determined to repress any demonstration. The majority of Iranian citizens are tired of the Islamic government and aspire to a democratic system capable of guaranteeing a better quality of life and a stable economy. This deep dissatisfaction with the current government is the reflection of years of economic difficulties, political repression and restrictions on civil liberties. Many Iranian citizens see Raisi's death as the beginning of a new chapter, characterized by a government more respectful of human rights. However, Iranian authorities appear determined to maintain their grip on power, using force and repression to suppress any form of dissent.”

What do you think of Raisi?

«Raisi, he was a murderer. While serving as chief justice, he was responsible for the deaths of thousands of people, especially in light of his alleged participation in the killing of political prisoners in 1988. Despite the controversies, Raisi was elected with a significant percentage of the vote, at least according to as reported by the Ministry of the Interior on 19 June. But his election has never convinced anyone and many doubt the result. These doubts have fueled dissent and dissatisfaction among the population, who continue to fight for true democratic representation and for the victims of human rights violations. The country continues to face the challenges of a highly polarized political system characterized by widespread inequality and repression.”

Do you think there will be a vote in 50 days?

«At the moment, Vice President Mohammed Mokbel will take Raisi's place and will temporarily take over the leadership of the country, as foreseen by the Constitution, and will have to organize the next “mandatory” elections within 50 days but I am not sure that this will happen, but we we all hope for a change. Iranians continue to fight for their rights and seek a future where they can live free from fear and oppression. Raisi's death could only be the beginning of a long and difficult path towards freedom and democracy in Iran.”