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Analysis: accident occurs at a difficult time for the region and for Iran

The crash of the helicopter carrying Iran's president and foreign minister comes at an especially tense time in the Middle East – and for Iran domestically.

Israel's war against Hamas and the subsequent humanitarian catastrophe that has unfolded in Gaza over the past seven months has inflamed global opinion and increased tensions across the Middle East.

It also brought to light a decades-long parallel war between Iran and Israel.

Last month, Iran launched an unprecedented drone and missile attack on Israel – its first direct attack on the country – in response to an apparently deadly Israeli airstrike on Iran's consulate in Damascus, Syria, which killed a military commander. high-ranking member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) elite.

Israel counterattacked a week later, according to U.S. officials, striking targets outside the Iranian city of Isfahan with a much smaller and calibrated response.

Since then, direct attacks between the two have ceased. But the “proxy” war continues with Iranian-backed militias such as Hamas and Hezbollah continuing to fight Israeli forces.

Meanwhile, Iran's hardline leadership has weathered a recent explosion of popular dissent on the country's streets, where years of U.S.-led sanctions have hit the economy hard.

The country has been convulsed by youth-led demonstrations against the clerical regime and worsening economic conditions following the 2022 death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of Iran's notorious morality police.

Since then, Iranian authorities have launched an increasing crackdown on dissent in response to the protests. This repression has led to human rights violations, some of which constitute “crimes against humanity,” according to a United Nations report released in March.

And although the protests have largely stopped for now, opposition to the clerical leadership remains deeply rooted among many Iranians, especially young people, who yearn for reform, jobs and a break from the suffocating religious regime.

Ebrahim Raisi, a hardline former judiciary chief with his own brutal human rights record, was elected president in 2021, in a vote that was tightly engineered by the Islamic Republic's political elite so that he would run virtually uncontested.

As president, his powers are overshadowed by those of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is the final arbiter of internal and external affairs in the Islamic Republic.

Source: CNN Brasil

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