Iran Dossier: Can Iran’s moderates and reformists threaten Raisi’s chances of becoming supreme leader?
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Takeaway: Iran’s moderates and reformists are cooperating to regain political influence by undermining hardline President Ebrahim Raisi, which could hurt his chances of becoming the next supreme leader. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei could allow this moderate reformist bloc to regain influence – despite the risks it poses to Raisi – to avoid internal unrest.
Prominent Iranian moderates and reformists coordinate to regain political influence. Moderate and reformist officials, such as former Presidents Hassan Rouhani and Mohammad Khatami and former Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani,*having met regularly in recent months, a sign of cooperation. These officials would have *goal to obstruct extremist President Ebrahim Raisi and discredit hardliners ahead of the 2024 legislative elections and the 2025 presidential election.
This moderate reformist bloc is likely relying on extremist grievances about Raisi within its own faction to damage its political capital among the regime’s power centers.. Moderates and Reformers would be *collaborate with hardliners to obstruct Raisi’s politics. Hardliners have increasingly criticized Raisi’s administration since his inauguration in August 2021, especially in recent weeks. Diehard Parliamentarians*critical The economic policies of Raisi and *submitted proposals to *to accuse two of Raisi’s ministers in March 2022.
Growing criticism of Raisi could hurt his chances of succeeding Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Raisi is one of the best candidates to replace Khamenei, who *supported the regime’s interference in the 2021 presidential elections to help Raisi win. Moderates and reformists could attempt to sow doubt about Raisi’s political competence among those likely to shape the succession. Paramount Chief Succession *is an opaque process that will likely involve negotiations between the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Khamenei’s allies and prominent politicians and clerics. A moderate reformist bloc could leverage public criticism of Raisi to challenge his candidacy to become supreme leader throughout this process.
Khamenei could allow this moderate reformist bloc to regain some influence, despite the risks it poses to Raisi, to ease domestic unrest and bolster the facade of political diversity. Politically and economically motivated protests to have have become more prevalent in recent years, as the regime faces a growing crisis of legitimacy. Iran’s 2020 parliamentary election and 2021 presidential election saw record turnout, likely signaling public disillusionment with the regime over its interference in favor of extremists. It is unclear what leeway, if any, Khamenei is prepared to grant this moderate reformist bloc. The Supreme Leader can grant influence to a moderate reformist coalition to mitigate further unrest. Khamenei could, alternatively, leverage regime institutions to back Raisi, as he did in the 2021 presidential election.