Politicians React To Death Of Iranian President

Tens of thousands crowded the streets of Tehran Wednesday as Iran's Supreme Leader led the nation in mourning the loss of President Ebrahim Raisi, his foreign minister and others in a helicopter crash earlier this week. For many Americans, Raisi's death raises the question of whether this could potentially open the door to change in Iran.

Wednesday, May 22nd 2024, 5:32 pm



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Tens of thousands crowded the streets of Tehran Wednesday as Iran's Supreme Leader led the nation in mourning the loss of President Ebrahim Raisi, his foreign minister and others in a helicopter crash earlier this week. For many Americans, Raisi's death raises the question of whether this could potentially open the door to change in Iran.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei prayed Wednesday over the casket of President Raisi, a man many saw as Khameini's likely successor, but whose death now gives the Iranian people a choice.

"Do they want to still go down the path that this president was taking their country?" asked Senator Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) "Or do you want to change directions?"

Senator Mullin says America would welcome improved relations with Iran, insisting Americans don't have a problem with Iran's fundamental grounding in Islam.

"What we have is a difference in how we're going to influence the world," Mullin said in an interview Tuesday. "We fight against terrorists -- this regime sponsors the terrorists."

Iran has sponsored Hamas and Hezbollah in their twin campaigns to terrorize Israel and last month launched its own direct assault on the U.S. ally.

Outside of Iran, many exiles cheered the demise of Raisi, the hardline leader they called the 'Butcher of Tehran' for his role in brutal crackdowns on his own people. And, despite the throngs at the funeral Wednesday, there is discontent within the country over a struggling economy and ultra-conservative social policies.

Still, most agree change will be minimal.

"We’ll see a new face, and maybe there will be some changes that will help the Iranian people who suffer under this political, military, totalitarian system they have," said Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK3) in an interview Wednesday, "but as long as the Ayatollah is in place, nothing dramatic is going to happen."

Iran’s First Vice President, Mohammad Mokhber, was appointed acting president on Monday. The election of a new president has been set for June 28.

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