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Ebrahim Raisolsadati, commonly known as Ebrahim Raisi (1960–) is a wingnut and the current president of Iran since 2021. He is a sayyid, a descendant of Muhammad, (which are identified by wearing a black turban) and he is an Islamic jurist. Despite presenting himself as a moderate and an anti-corruption leader, he is an Islamist and a fascist responsible for grave human rights abuses and has overseen political repressions throughout his tenure as president and as a politician.
Raisi’s theocratic politics, macho strongman posturing, brutal political repression campaigns, and uncaring racism have been noted by several commentators to be a light form of fascism, not dissimilar to American religious fascism or Hindutva.
Rise to power
Raisi was born to a clerical family in Mashhad and was educated in Islamic studies under Ruhollah Khomeini himself. He became the Prosecutor of Karaj and Hamadan in 1981, only to be appointed as Prosecutor of Hamadan Province after four months. During the 1980s, he was responsible for ordering the executions and slaughters of thousands of protesters.
Raisi campaigned as an opponent of the president at the time, Hassan Rouhani, and appealed himself to the country promising order in the country. After Raisi was elected, the inauguration was so messy and so bizarre that even Ahmadinejad called out the results of the election.
Raisi was elected president during the 2021 election in Iran, beating Mohsen Rezaee and Abdonnaser Hemmati. From there, he continued to paint himself as an anti-corruption politician, and dealt poorly with the COVID-19 pandemic in the country (which was not entirely his fault as the country failed to respond properly to initial cases in 2020). However, he did little to change the policies and efficiently deal with COVID-19, even lamenting that the country was lagging behind in dealing with the pandemic.
Raisi is an ultra-religious reactionary and a theocrat, who believes Iran is a Muslim country and should remain so as such. He and his administration have made baseless claims that Iran is a proudly Muslim-majority country (despite evidence from polls and surveys conducted privately showing otherwise). Raisi rules with an iron fist under the will of the Ayatollah, instilling his religious views into the government, though he has also done his fair share of damage to Iranian democracy.
Antisemitism and Holocaust denial
Raisi has made several statements denying the Holocaust. In an interview with the United States television show 60 Minutes, he downplayed the Holocaust and claimed that "there are some signs that it happened but it should be investigated further". Because of his antisemitic statements, he has received praise from white nationalists and neo-Nazis in the West (despite being an actual Aryan country, though this is why Iran is universally praised by the alt-right).
Despite Raisi claiming to be friendly to Christian leaders in Western countries, his regime has been as bigoted against Christians as it has been against Jews. Christians and other religious minorities are some of the first religious minority groups to feel the oppressive thumb of the Iranian government.
Several human rights organizations have found reports of Raisi's administration imprisoning religious minorities such as atheists, deists, agnostics, Hindus, Zoroastrians, Buddhists, Bahai's, Christians, and Jews among other groups on the basis of their religious identity. UN experts have stated that disturbing cases of religious persecution have risen in recent years since Raisi took office.
Raisi has referred to the LGBT community as "savagery", and has advocated for allowing the death penalty on gay citizens. The Iranian government has been leading harassment campaigns against its gay and trans citizens and falsely charging them simply for being themselves. Raisi has also sanctioned the execution of LGBT citizens and activists for spreading what he claims as “degeneracy”.
Despite harsh treatment within the country, Iran’s LGBTQ+ community (including LGBT allies) has been going strong against government crackdowns, especially since the protests against the death of Mahsa Amini.
Raisi has a terrible record when it comes to women. He and his administration are responsible for the rise of violent attacks against women and girls, especially after the anti-hijab protests that followed the death of Mahsa Amini at the hands of the morality police. As of September 2022, Iranian women protesting against the regime have been kidnapped, tortured, and killed, only creating more anger within the country and for the country's women. Some of the crimes Raisi is responsible for are (just to name a few) the execution of 30 women, the slaughter of 400 women, the torture of 36 women, and the lashing of 24 women.
Raisi has called for politicides of his opponents, suppressing dissent from those he sees as not aligned with the regime. An example of this is the 1988 executions, when Raisi carried out a mass murder of political opponents under the order of Ruhollah Khomeini. Raisi has also ordered a heavy internet crackdown and has most of the internet blocked within the country (meaning no access to sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc).
Since the protests that began in September 2022, Raisi has cracked down heavily on the protestors, heavily monitoring them and their families and sanctioning torturing them to death. These authoritarian actions and his arch-conservative style of governance have led him to be labeled as a fascist.
Raisi has been friendly with fellow fascists such as Bashar al-Assad, Erdoğan (two other Islamist dictators), and Modi (an Islamophobe and the leader of another actual Aryan country). Raisi called for establishing relations with Saudi Arabia and their leaders, during times of lessening tensions between the two countries as a result of the foreign policy incompetence of the United States and aid from China to strengthen ties. Despite this possible chance of a relationship, Iran has adopted the ideological position of anti-Arabism from the Pan-Iranist Party during the proxy conflict with Saudi Arabia.
Raisi has also supported Putin and his invasion of Ukraine by supplying Russia with weapons, in addition to meeting with and calling Putin to state his support for his military actions, and establishing deeper ties and relationships between the two countries. This is mostly because both countries are opposed to the West because of crippling sanctions and anti-American sentiment from the government, and the war gives Iran an advantage to supply its oil to Russia and boost its unstable economy. However, it's likely only a matter of time until Iran pulls its support for Russia much like every other country has done, as supporting a pariah state is the worst decision you can possibly make for your own country.
General human rights violations
Raisi is responsible for a number of human rights violations and has been called to be tried in international court by Amnesty International. His invitation to the US and his subsequent speech at the United Nations General Assembly was heavily criticized by human rights groups and by people on the left and the right.
Despite Raisi ranting about human rights in a speech he made at the UN headquarters (with some legitimate criticisms), his own forces have been suppressing dissent and human rights in Iran. Because of Raisi's extremism, many observers of the events worldwide worry about the possible events that could unfold as Iran's access to nuclear armament could easily set off a war in the region not unlike the war in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan.
Raisi’s general treatment of Iranian citizens has been criticized by various world leaders outside the West as well, such as the Azerbaijani president who cancelled a meeting with the Iranian leader due to tensions with Iran and their leaders for causing the deaths of several hundred soldiers on both sides.
- Iran's Ebrahim Raisi: The hardline cleric who became president. BBC, 5 August 2021.
- Baria Alamuddin, The ayatollahs appointed a murderous fascist … let’s treat them accordingly. Arab News, 27 June 2021.
- Miriam Berger, What to know about Ebrahim Raisi, the front-runner in Iran’s presidential election. Archived from The Washington Post, 16 June 2021.
- Narendra Modi, archived from Twitter, 16 September 2022.