FAREWELL

POURMARJAN: President Raisi legacy of service and international relations

By prioritising relations with African countries, particularly with Kenya on the top, he aimed to expand Iran's influence.

In Summary
  • President Raisi assumed office during a time of economic and health challenges, with the Covid-19 pandemic looming large.
  • Despite these difficulties, he tirelessly worked to import vaccines and promote domestic vaccine production, effectively combating the virus within a year.
Iran President Ebrahim Raisi is received by President William Ruto at State House in Nairobi, on July 12, 2023.
GREAT LEGACY: Iran President Ebrahim Raisi is received by President William Ruto at State House in Nairobi, on July 12, 2023.
Image: PCS

It has been forty days since the tragic incident that took the life of Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi. This loss plunged the Islamic Republic of Iran into grief and shocked the world. Raisi, along with his companions, tragically perished in a helicopter crash while returning from a joint project inauguration with Azerbaijan.

This article reflects on President Raisi's remarkable character, his impact on Iran and his efforts to strengthen international relations, with a particular focus on his relationship with Kenya.

Character and contributions

President Raisi assumed office during a time of economic and health challenges, with the Covid-19 pandemic looming large. Despite these difficulties, he tirelessly worked to import vaccines and promote domestic vaccine production, effectively combating the virus within a year. His tenure witnessed positive economic growth, increased oil exports, reduced unemployment rates and membership in key regional and international organisations.

However, what endeared Raisi to the people was his humble demeanour, as he traveled to remote and deprived areas in soiled robes and mud shoes. He attentively listened to the concerns and hardships of the people, embodying the idea of martyrdom in the service of the nation.

A historical farewell

Following the helicopter crash, the question arose of how to bid farewell to the martyred President and his companions. The mournful procession spanned several days, with different cities marking specific dates for mourning. The emotional farewell in Tabriz, Qom, Tehran and Mashhad witnessed the presence of millions of people, their tears mingling with cries of love and grief for Raisi. The immense outpouring of support and mourning from both Iranians and leaders worldwide demonstrated his profound impact and popularity.

Legacy and impact

President Raisi's commitment to justice, social welfare and national sovereignty resonated deeply with Iranians. As a Shia cleric, he skilfully balanced religious values with the challenges of modern governance, inspiring hope among citizens for a prosperous and self-reliant Iran. His legacy includes a vision of a united and strong nation, driven by principles of fairness, social well-being and national pride.

International relations

President Raisi and his fallen Foreign Minister Dr Amir-Abdollahian actively engaged in diplomatic efforts to enhance Iran's global standing. They emphasised cooperation and regional stability in their interactions with world leaders, notably neighbours and Islamic countries.

The President expressed interest in strengthening Iran’s ties with Africa. During the Tehran economic conference, he emphasised the importance of formulating cooperation roadmaps between Iran and African nations, along with removing obstacles hindering their expansion of ties. Additionally, in his visit to Algeria, he highlighted the privileged position Africa and the African Islamic nations, aiming to improve Iran’s relations with African countries.

By prioritising relations with African countries, particularly with Kenya on the top, Raisi aimed to expand Iran's influence, foster economic cooperation and enhance cultural exchanges. The impact of these efforts can be explored in several key areas, including economic cooperation aimed to boost trade and investment, agricultural development, cultural cooperation aimed to strengthen ties at the grassroots level, educational collaboration by offering scholarships, exchange programmes and joint research initiatives to students and scholars.

Kenya and President Raisi's vision

During his presidency, Raisi held Kenya in high regard and sought to strengthen bilateral relations. In July last year, he undertook a historic state visit by an Iranian head of state to Africa in over a decade. He and Kenyan President William Ruto signed several Memoranda of Understanding and agreements, encompassing various sectors such as agriculture, livestock, culture, information technology and housing. The visit to Kenya highlighted the positive and cordial relations between the two nations, emphasising his commitment to expanding ties with African countries.

President Raisi's and martyr Amir-Abdollahian's untimely demise left a void in Iran and saddened the international community. Their extraordinary character, dedication to public service and emphasis on justice and social welfare endeared them to the Iranian people. Moreover, their endeavours to strengthen international relations, particularly his emphasis on collaboration with neighbours and Africa and the historic visit to Kenya, showcased his commitment to advancing Iran's interests on the global stage.

Raisi's legacy will undoubtedly endure, reminding us of his vision for a prosperous and self-reliant Iran and his efforts to foster cooperation and goodwill among nations, as well as to establish peace and security in the region including profound support of resistant front, especially in Palestine.

Cultural counsellor at the Iranian embassy in Nairobi

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