Mohammad Mojber, Khamenei’s ally who will assume the presidency of Iran after the death of Ebrahim Raisi

Updated

The sudden death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash, together with the Foreign Minister, Amir Abdollahian-, forced the authorities to appoint interim figures to assume power before holding presidential elections. The country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has appointed the current vice president Mohammed Mojber, new interim president. «According to Article 131 of the Constitution, Mr. Mojber has the power to direct the executive power and is obliged to agree with the heads of the legislative and judicial power on the election of a new president within a maximum period of fifty days» He announced Khamenei in a statement collected by the state agency IRNA.

Born in 1955 in the southwestern province of Khuzestan, Mojber is considered a line politician He is close to Ayatollah Khamenei. He entered the government with Raisi’s victory in the 2021 presidential elections and has held, to date, the highest position among the country’s twelve vice presidents, with very close contacts with the deceased president. Khamenei’s support for the new interim president was evident in Mojber’s trips to Moscow to agree on the supply of surface-to-surface missiles and drones to the Russian army in the war in Ukraine. The visits took place in October last year and included a delegation of senior officials from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and the Supreme National Security Council. Local media speculate that Mojber could run for president to the next elections – which must be called within a maximum of fifty days – even if no official announcement has been made at the moment. Raisi was perceived as the leading candidate to succeed Ayatollah Khamenei – a life position – and now analysts point out that in the absence of a vacuum, the supreme leader’s son could take over in the future.

The current interim president, Mohammed Mojber, began his career in the financial sector, working for Sina Bank, a private entity focused on investments. He held various positions in the sector until managing Setad, an important investment fund linked to the Supreme Leader. This entity was founded by the leader of the Islamic Revolution himself, Ruhollah Khomeini, to manage properties, invest and generate interests in different sectors. Under him, Mojber developed Barkat, a vaccine against the coronavirus which has not been successful enough to be implemented into the population or marketed to foreign countries.

In 2010, The European Union included Mojber on a list of sanctioned persons and entities for engaging in «nuclear or ballistic missile activities», although they withdrew the imposition two years later. After his predecessor Raisi, Mojber is the second president of the country to be hit by US sanctions. The US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on him shortly before he took over as vice president in 2021, for “corruption and systemic mismanagement” of Iran.

Following the death of Ebrahim Raisi, the supreme leader declared five days of mourning in the country. Ayatollah Khamenei also appointed an interim Foreign Minister this morning, following the death of Amir Abdollahian. Deputy Foreign Minister and nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani, assumed the diplomatic role until the presidential elections were held. Kani is known to be highly critical of the nuclear deal signed in 2015 by the administration of moderate former president Hasan Rohani. After the failure of the pact, Raisi appointed him as chief negotiator in 2021 to try to save – so far unsuccessfully – the nuclear deal.