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Letters from Dhaka
Iran: Reshaping the Regional Politics in the Middle East
By MA Hossain
Bangladesh Correspondent
Iranian President-Elect Ebrahim Raisi
Iranian President-elect Ebrahim Raisi is the only president who was under sanction before the election by the US. He has got 48.8 percent vote of ever lowest turnout in presidential poll '21 since 1979 Islamic Revolution Movement and become the 8th president of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Mr. Raisi is considered to be an ultraconservative Shia ideologist and a staunch acolyte of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The victory of Raisi will have a significant impact on reshaping regional politics in the Middle East (ME) and also the only option left to survive the clerical representative system of rule in Iran.

The tenacity of Iran's proxy war in the ME has made its rivals uncomfortable,, especially arch-foe Jewish Israel. Iran-backed militias — Hamas, Huti, Hezbollah have gained considerable dominance over political and tactical grounds from the regional perspective. Israel and its henchmen the US have launched an all-out war to curtail the influence and destabilised the institutional strength of Iran. In this context, the president poll '21 had gargantuan importance that how the Islamic Republic will negotiate the upcoming challenges.

Iranian President holds the second in ranking in the country's political system, but it is the Supreme Leader who is the only decisive instrumentality of state matters. The presidency does control domestic matters like law and order, economy and state schemes. Mr. Raisi will take over the office in early Aug. 21. It is Mr. Raisi who is the protégé of ultra-conservative Khamenei and trusted crony to the conservative establishment, including its security and intelligence agencies. The regime will pave the way for controlling and influencing social activities, freedom of women, social media and the press. At present, Khamenei is 80, and if any health issue arises then Raisi would be the perfect successor.

Iran is in a critical juncture of political crisis. The general living standard has declined due to the deep economic crisis. The US sanctions and mismanagement of the government have crippled the economy of Iran. Domestic unrest and dissent are broiling political stability. Foreign actors are deeply engaged to destabilise the present system in Iran. To eliminate any internal or external challenge at a critical moment, the gerrymandered allocation of Guardian Council members was staged to bring a hardliner like Mr Raisi. Now, the regime will have absolute control over all the centres of power.

Mr Raisi's first press briefing made a weathercock of Iran's foreign policy. This regime will focus on confidence-building with its neighbours and increase Islamic Revolutionary Guard Crops's (IRGC) influence over the region. The IRGC has tremendous influences in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen and Palestinian. The relationship between Iran and the US and EU is going to be strained. Israel already has expressed her deep concern with the victory of Raisi. Another regional rival, Saudi Arabia, has intended its ice-breaking gesture after a secret ministerial-level meeting in Baghdad with Iran. Saudi Arabia has understood the strategy of the US. The petrodollar is the only interesting matter to the US and the recent withdrawal of the missile system from Saudi puts this gulf state in reality. More so, the Biden administration is a bit uncomfortable with Saudi Arabia for issues of Khashoggi murder, human rights violations and the Yemen war. Mr. Raisi has praised the Lebanese militia group Hezbollah and criticised normalisation efforts between Israel and Arab Nations, arbitrated by Saudi Arabia.

Russia and China have congratulated Mr. Raisi and assured to support the economy out of the deep crisis. Turkey has intended to raise the Tehran — Ankara relations to a new height. Qatar has ensured the economic vibes for Iran. Syria and Iraq have further expressed their solidarity and connectivity with Iran as rock still. Kuwait, UAE, India and Pakistan showed a keen interest in strategic partnership with this Persian Gulf.

Oil-rich Iran is also blessed with a long and extensive history of culture and strong traditional values. It has a severe influence over the regional context. The major religion in the ME has reshaped after got in touch with Persian traditions. Persian Shiite ideology is one of the major offshoots of Islam around the world. Historically, Iran has a strong conservative society. IRGC has achieved great success to fight against Islamic State(IS) militia in the ME and saved the Iranian society to indulge in IS wave. Again, we also find Iranian strong cultural heritage becomes the saviour for the society during various crisis moments - the nationalisation of Anglo-Iranian oil company during the British era, Wahhabism, Arab Spring, the latest IS wave. In the past, Iran starkly rejected the intention of progressive and open society by the Pahlavi monarchy and constituted the Islamic Republic by an Islamic Revolutionary movement in 1979.

Nevertheless, the present global political scenario has made an imbroglio in the ME. A stark critic of the West, Mr Raisi's bent on the enrichment of nuclear power made a more complex political game in this theatre. It's too early to comment on such a mercurial quickie. It is the time that will dictate the very speculative narratives on the ME.



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M A Hossain, a political and defense analyst, writes on diversified topics in Bangladeshi and foreign newspapers. He has served in the United Nations. His articles are already featured in prominent newspapers like, South China Morning Post, The Arabian Post, The National (UAE),The Seoul Times, Modern Ghana, The New Nation, Malaysia Today, The Al Bilad(S.Arabia), The Financial Express, The Asian Age, South Asia Journal, etc. He can be contacted at: writemah71@gmail.com

 

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