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The Iranian president’s wake generates minor repercussions on public discontent

Thousands of Iranians took to the streets on Tuesday to mourn the late President Ebrahim Raisi in the city of Tabriz, following his death in a helicopter crash near the border with Azerbaijan over the weekend, along with his foreign minister and others seven people.

State TV broadcast live images of mourners, many dressed in black, beating their chests, as a truck covered in white flowers, carrying coffins draped in the national flag, slowly moved through the crowd.

“Everyone came to greet the martyred president and his comrades, regardless of faction, ethnicity or language,” said Masoud Pezeshkian, a lawmaker from Tabriz.

However, even as state TV said large crowds had gathered in Tabriz, some in the country saw a stark contrast in the public mourning compared to previous tributes over the deaths of other major figures in the Islamic Republic’s 45-year history.

Although Iran proclaimed five days of mourning for Raisi, there was little emotional rhetoric accompanying the death of Qasem Soleimani, a senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander killed by a U.S. missile in 2020 in Iraq, whose funeral attracted huge crowds of people.

Raisi’s body was flown from Tabriz, the closest major city to the remote crash site, to Tehran’s airport before heading to the Shiite Muslim holy city of Qom. From there, he will return to the capital to rest in Tehran’s Mosalla Grand Mosque before being transferred on Thursday to his hometown of Mashahd, in the east of the country, for burial.

Mourners carried posters with images of Raisi, Chancellor Hossein Amirabdollahian and other officials who died in the crash.

The president’s death came at a time of deep crisis between the clerical leadership and society over issues ranging from tightening social and political controls to economic hardship.

To restore damaged legitimacy after a historically low turnout of around 41% in March’s parliamentary elections, Iran’s rulers must reawaken the people’s enthusiasm to ensure high turnout in early presidential elections on the 28th. June.

However, Iranians still retain painful memories of the national unrest sparked by the death in custody of a young Kurdish-Iranian woman in 2022, quelled by a violent state crackdown that involved mass detentions and even executions.

Widespread public anger over falling living standards and widespread corruption could also keep many Iranians at home.

Source: Terra

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