As crowds mourn Iranian President Raisi, others celebrate behind closed doors

Thousands of people gathered in the Iranian capital on Wednesday to mourn the sudden death of President Ebrahim Raisi. But behind closed doors, some Iranians quietly celebrated his passing, saying the hardline cleric and regime stalwart symbolized the worst elements of the country’s Islamic leadership.

Raisi’s career (as a prosecutor, chief justice and later president) was defined as much by instability as by the harsh tactics he used to protect the Islamic republic. He presided over decades of repression as a senior member of Iran’s judiciary and was president when security forces brutally suppressed anti-government protests in 2022 and 2023.

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