Demonstrations and violence in Iran have continued for the last three months. After Mahsa Amini’s death, the protests against the compulsory headscarf rule soon turned into demonstrations in which Sunni groups, especially the Kurds and the Balochs, came to the fore. This situation has led to a high number of deaths. The demonstrations in the capital Tehran, mostly supported by the middle-upper class, did not receive great support despite the discomfort of the broad masses. Instead, they turned into protests by university students, generally led by elite segments such as artists and athletes. When the Persian media and opposition activists abroad came to the fore, the reformist segment in the country was largely silent. Different political groups turned the events into a power-sharing ground for post-Khamenei politics. However, the fact that the events have entered their third month and the state has not yet resorted to its traditional iron-fist method raises questions. In the same period, the tension in Iran’s relations with the Kurdistan Regional Government and the Republic of Azerbaijan reveals the transitivity and interaction between domestic and foreign policies.
Following the Islamic Revolution, a number of leaders have served as the highest elected official of Iran, with the winner of the last presidential election being Ebrahim Raisi, who does not have much experience in the political area, but received the support of all influential groups in the country, particularly the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the ulama. The attitude of the Guardian Council, which has the primary responsibility for the survival of the system, in determining the presidential candidates affects the voter turnout and enables the forecast of election results to some degree, as in this election. In this context, the rejection of the candidacy of some names is essential in terms of showing the rivalry between the various power groups in the system and giving clues about the new era, which is characterized as the second phase of the Revolution. Raisi, who has been seen as the Supreme Leader’s possible successor, is expected to make an impression as an embracive leader. However, he also faces significant challenges in domestic policy such as the economy, aridification, power and water crises, and ethnic problems, to which there are no simple and short-term solutions. In foreign policy, although it is expected that Raisi would prioritize the relations with neighboring countries instead of the great powers, the relations of Tehran with these countries will, to a great extent, depend on its policies towards the U.S. in the new era.