Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi, who died in a helicopter crash on Sunday, was a hard-line cleric close to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

His election in 2021 consolidated the control of conservatives over every part of the Islamic Republic.

The 63-year-old former judiciary chief succeeded Hassan Rouhani after a landslide victory in a poll which saw many prominent moderate and reformist candidates barred and the majority of voters stay away.

He took power as Iran faced multiple challenges, including acute economic problems, escalating regional tensions, and stalled talks on the revival of a nuclear deal with world powers.

However, his time in office was dominated by the anti-government protests that swept across Iran in 2022, as well as the current war in Gaza between Israel and the Iran-backed Palestinian group Hamas, during which Iran’s shadow war with Israel burst into the open.

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