A helicopter in pieces, yet Iran's foreign policy intact

Despite the shuffling of presidents and the assassination of key figures over the years, Iran's expansionist project remains unaffected

A helicopter in pieces, yet Iran's foreign policy intact

After an extensive search lasting over 15 hours, the helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was found on a fog-shrouded mountainside in northwest Iran. Official announcements confirmed that he was killed in the crash along with Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Tabriz Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Al-Hashem, East Azerbaijan Governor Malek Rahmati, and two of their companions.

Iran blamed the crash and the sluggish search for the wreckage on the foggy weather and a malfunction that forced the aircraft to make an emergency landing.

However, some speculate the crash was not an accident but a planned assassination by Israel, given its track record of targeting Iranian leaders in recent years. They also accuse the Azerbaijani government of colluding in the assassination, given its history of allowing Israel to use its territory to target Iran.

In April, Israel targeted the Iranian consulate in Damascus, killing several senior Revolutionary Guard officers, including General Mohammad Reza Zahedi, who oversaw Iran's alliances with militias in Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine.

Despite the shuffling of presidents and the assassination of key figures over the years, Iran's expansionist project remains unaffected.

The attack nearly provoked a regional war. Iran responded very carefully within the legal limits of international law's "right to self-defence" clause. But unlike the Israeli attack on the consulate and Iran's subsequent direct attacks on Israel, Iran did not point the finger at Israel this time.

Instead, Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei swiftly took to the airwaves to assure the Iranian people that "The administration of the country is proceeding in an orderly and sound manner; people should not worry."

And he's right. Despite the shuffling of presidents and foreign ministers over the years, as well as the assassination of key figures like Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani and Zahedi, Iran's expansionist project remains unaffected.

Tactics may differ between one president and another, between one IRGC commander and another, but Iran's "Axis of Resistance" comprising Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Houthis remains intact.

Iran's limited capabilities are revealed every time a natural disaster occurs—be it an earthquake, severe weather conditions, or a helicopter crash. Yet, this has never stopped it from spreading chaos across the region.

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