All Iranian presidents since the early 1980s have in essence been expressions of what the supreme leader thought he needed at the time. Ebrahim Raisi was not only a protege of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, but also closer in his purist religious and political views.

So it matters that at home — where the future of the regime will ultimately be determined — the man chosen to restore faith in and obedience to the Islamic Revolution failed.

Raisi came to power in 2021, claiming that Iran didn’t need a by-then-defunct nuclear deal with the West and could prosper by facing its "resistance economy” squarely to the east. He also quickly imposed a crackdown on female dress codes, in a demonstrative turn to a past where his revolutionary credentials — as "the Butcher of Tehran,” responsible for mass executions of regime opponents in 1988 — were impeccable.