Iran's Vice President Steps In as Interim Leader: Who is Mohammad Mokhber?

Following the untimely death of President Ebrahim Raisi, Iran's Vice President Mohamed Mokhber is set to assume the role of interim president, navigating the country through a critical transitional period

by Sededin Dedovic
Iran's Vice President Steps In as Interim Leader: Who is Mohammad Mokhber?
© The Indian Express / Youtube channel

Mohamed Mokhber, the Vice President of Iran, is expected to become the interim president of the country following the death of President Ebrahim Raisi. If the president dies while in office, Article 131 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic stipulates that the First Vice President – Mohamed Mokhber – assumes the role, with confirmation from the Supreme Leader, who has the final say on all state matters in Iran, reports The Guardian.

A council composed of the First Vice President, the President of Parliament, and the Head of the Judiciary must organize elections for a new president within a maximum of 50 days, Reuters reports. Raisi was elected president in 2021, and according to the usual schedule, the presidential elections were supposed to be held in 2025.

According to constitutional rules, it is now expected that the elections will be held at the beginning of July.

Who is Mohamed Mokhber?

Mohamed Mokhber was born in Dezful on September 1, 1955. Like the deceased President Ebrahim Raisi, he is considered close to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on all state matters.

Mokhber became the First Vice President in 2021 when Raisi was elected president. He was part of the team of Iranian officials who visited Moscow in October and agreed to supply the Russian military with surface-to-surface missiles and several drones, The Guardian reports.

The team also included two senior officials from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and the Supreme National Security Council.

Mohammed Mokhber© The Indian Express / Youtube channel

Mokhber previously headed Setad, an investment fund linked to the Supreme Leader.

The European Union placed Mokhber on the list of individuals and entities sanctioned in 2010 for alleged involvement in "nuclear or ballistic missile activities." Two years later, he was removed from the list. In 2013, the U.S.

Treasury Department added Setad, managed by Mokhber, and 37 companies it oversees to the list of sanctioned entities. Setad, whose full name is Setad Ejraie Farmane Hazrate Emam, or the Headquarters for Executing the Order of the Imam, was established by the order of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Khamenei's predecessor, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

He ordered his aides to sell and manage property allegedly abandoned in the chaotic years following the 1979 Islamic Revolution and direct most of the revenue to charitable causes. Mokhber holds two doctoral degrees in international law and management.

He was an officer in the medical corps of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard during the Iran-Iraq war. He served as the head of the Execution of Imam Khomeini's Order (EIKO), chairman of the board of Sina Bank, and deputy governor of Khuzestan province.

Raisi had significant influence in the state

Raisi (63), always wearing a black turban and clerical robe, is considered an ultraconservative and an outspoken supporter of public order. Raisi was elected on June 18, 2021, in the first round of voting marked by record abstention from the presidential elections and a lack of strong competitors.

He succeeded the moderate Hassan Rouhani, who defeated him in the 2017 presidential elections and could no longer run after two consecutive terms. Raisi emerged strengthened after the parliamentary elections held in March and mid-May.

These were the first national elections since the protest movement that shook Iran in late 2022 following the death of Mahsa Amini, a young woman arrested for violating the strict dress code. After these elections, the Iranian president hailed a "new historic defeat inflicted on Iran's enemies after the unrest" in 2022.

The parliament, which will take office on May 27, will be largely controlled by the conservative and ultraconservative camp, which supports his government.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi Meets with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev as they inaugurate the Qiz Qalasi Dam, May 19.

202© Handout / Getty Images

In recent months, Raisi has presented himself as a determined opponent of Israel, the sworn enemy of the Islamic Republic, providing support to the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas since October 7, the beginning of the war in the Gaza Strip.

Raisi justified an unprecedented attack Iran carried out on Israel on April 13, with 350 drones and missiles, most of which were intercepted with the help of the U.S. and several other American allied countries. Raisi is on the U.S.

blacklist of Iranian officials sanctioned for "complicity in serious human rights violations," accusations that Tehran authorities have denied. Born in November 1960 in the holy Shiite city of Mashhad in the northeast, Raisi advanced through the judicial system over three decades.

He was 20 years old when he was appointed chief prosecutor of Karaj, near Tehran, during the 1979 Islamic Revolution. He then served as Tehran's attorney general from 1989 to 1994, followed by deputy head of the judiciary from 2004 to 2014, the year he was appointed state prosecutor.

In 2016, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appointed him to head the charitable foundation Astan-e Quds Razavi, which manages the Imam Reza shrine in Mashhad, as well as an extensive industrial and real estate legacy.

Three years later, he became head of the main judicial authority. Raisi's death marks a significant transition in Iran's political landscape, with Vice President Mohamed Mokhber poised to take on the interim presidency amid complex constitutional and geopolitical challenges.