Raisi’s ghost looms like a martyr over Iran’s election – Asia Times

Raisi's ghost looms like a martyr over Iran's election - Asia Times

Hundreds of Iranians came out on the roads to mark the funeral festivities of Iran’s president Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran, Mashhad, and Tabriz, after he died in a plane crash alongside the foreign minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian.

During these festivities, big flags were put up naming Raisi as” the hero of service”, while other flags carried statements such as “farewell to the slave of the underprivileged”.

His death was attributed to his commitment to the people as president, according to the hero of services designation.

In Iran, the hero tale is a lengthy- recognized strategy in religious tales, politics and books. The Egyptian management appears to be attempting to gain more public support from Raisi’s passing on May 19 and his martyrdom, which could lead to a higher attendance on June 28.

Raisi was a political hardliner and was near to Iran’s high leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He was pronounced a saint on Iranian state Screen soon after the collision and buried at Imam Reza, Iran’s largest Shia shrine, in his hometown of Mashhad.

Imam Reza is Iran’s spiritual capital and has great value for the government’s history, culture and politics. So the official statement of Raisi’s sacrifice at the shrine is important.

Authorities statements following the crash highlighted how it intended to portray Raisi’s death as a quasi-religious incident. The esteemed martyrs of the agonizing and tragic event honestly sacrificed their lives to advance Islam and our favorite Iran, according to a declaration from the Persian foreign ministry.

Martyrdom as a strategy has strong spiritual roots in Iran, but it also plays a major political and cultural function. The government’s usage of death expanded significantly during the Iran- Iraq War ( 1980- 1988 ), when about 750, 000 Iranians lost their lives as soldiers or citizens. For defending their country during this time, thousands of ordinary persons were hailed as victims.

In 1980 the state established the Martyrs ‘ Foundation ( Bonyād- e Šahīd ) to support those injured or disabled in the war and the families of the dead, by the order of the leader of the 1979 Iranian revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Throughout the world’s history, the issue of who a hero is and what their position may be has changed. In recent years, new notions of death have been used more frequently by both the state and the opposition. For example, some Arab Spring protesters were hailed as martyrs, but the people did not give them the position of martyr because of the protesters.

In addition, during the 2022 demonstrations and uprisings, government supporters also referred to protesters as martyrs for their political engagement against the state. In their eyes, those who are ruthlessly murdered by the state are considered saints. Martyrdom, consequently, is also an important part of the commemoration of the protests.

In accordance with Article 131 of the law, Iranians are scheduled to vote on a new leader in the coming weeks ahead of placing Raisi as a hero and highlighting his function and sacrifice. First presidential elections may be held within 50 days of a government’s death.

Raisi won the next presidential election in June 2021 with 18 million of the 28.9 million seats cast, according to government figures. However, voter turnout was 488.8 %, which is a significant drop from the previous election in 2017.

In legislative elections in March 2024, open contribution also decreased. According to Iran’s interior minister, Ahmad Vahidi, only 41 % of the 61 million eligible voters participated in the elections, one of the lowest turnouts since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

This may indicate widespread dissatisfaction with the political system. Can the latest leadership, however, encourage the electorate to vote in the election after Raisi’s passing? Does using death be effective?

Fundamentalists and other political parties may be influenced by the idea of democratic sacrifice, but it’s not yet clear whether or not that may happen. However, it’s possible that it can be used to increase political support for the current political system in the forthcoming election and perhaps increase voter participation.

Sahar Maranlou is a professor in socio-legal reports. School of Law and Social Sciences, Royal Holloway University of London

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