Sadegh Larijani has had a difficult summer. Despite his loyalty to Iran’s 80-year-old supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Larijani has faced multiple public allegations of corruption as part of a coordinated campaign by Ebrahim Raisi, his key rival. Larijani is worried — and he should be. Widely regarded as the frontrunner in the race for succession, Raisi is a formidable political operator who earned a reputation for ruthlessness thanks to his key role in the regime’s 1988 massacre of thousands of political opponents.
Saeed Ghasseminejad is a senior Iran and financial economics advisor at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), where Tzvi Kahn is a senior Iran analyst. Follow them on Twitter @SGhasseminejad and @TzviKahn. Follow FDD on Twitter @FDD. FDD is a Washington, D.C.-based, nonpartisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy.