NEWS of the demise of President Ebrahim Raisi and the foreign minister of Iran may have been received with heartache by the people of Iran and Azerbaijan, the place that he was to visit to inaugurate the grand opening of a new dam. However, the truth is that Iran has arrived at the world stage.

With or without the complicity of the dark force of the Mossad or some elements within Iran, the fact remains that Iran is not experiencing any chaotic transition of power.

Its state of armed alertness remains top-notch since the breach of Israel on Oct 7, 2023, and had gone even higher after Teheran delivered a serious and massive blow to Israel’s much-vaunted defence on April 14th, 2024.

Instead of being perpetually accused of using Houthis, Hizbullahs and Hamas, a triage of sub-state groups, to undermine the security of Israel, the facts show that even the students from all the leading universities in the United States and the European Union, not excluding those in Austral Oceania, have risen against Israel.

Surely Iran cannot be accused of planting anyone to trigger these feisty challenges against Zionism and Israel of the perfidious, albeit, pseudo-Judaic state?

Besides, there are legions of Jewish groups, professors and human rights activists across the world that have challenged the very existence of Israel to impose its iron will on all who refused to roll over and play dead. Bethlehem and the NGO, “Not in Our Name”, is the best example.

On April 14th, unlike the Israeli Defence Forces which claimed to be the “most moral army in the Middle East”, the Islamic Republic of Iran went for the jugular of Tel Aviv by focusing on its military targets. How?

This was achieved mostly,by using a combo of drones, projectiles and cruise missiles, all of which were accurately arrayed against the military targets of Israel.

The four water desalination plants of Israel north of Gaza were left intact. They were not even on the putative list of Iran’s targets. Teheran did destroy two of Israel’s military-grade runways in the nuclear testing base of Israel in the Dimona Desert.

Then again, this was a symbolic strike to demonstrate the ability of Iran to hit one of the most guarded possessions of Israel even though Iran and Israel had no shared borders and were divided 1,200km apart.

What makes everything all the more remarkable is the sudden switch in the international profile of Israel and Iran. While the former i.e. Israel has been widely considered the pariah of the world – due to its combo of apartheid, ethnic cleansing and genocidal campaign in Gaza and West Bank since 1948 – it turns out that Iran has been the most mature and rational state actor.

The reversal of the roles could not have been more dramatic in the history of international relations. Thus, Ebrahim’s demise must be seen in the proper context.

A leader and a foreign minister may be lost but in the coming state funeral, Iran will have a panoply of VVIPs attending the august and solemn event. Why?

Prior to the retaliation against Israel on April 14, Iran was perceived as the “incorrigible bully” of the Middle East. Iran had to swallow hook, line and sinker, the unpalatable moniker that it was a rogue nuclear state; when Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei deemed the weapon to be unIslamic due to its destructive powers that cannot discriminate between civilians and combatants. A key tenet in the Sunni and Shia concept of war, Qital, for that matter is Jihad.

Yet, for more than two decades at least, Iran has had the unfortunate misfortune of being weighed down by rounds of sanctions, leading to a thriving black market for anything – from children’s eyeglasses to valuable currencies.

However, even if Ebrahim’s death is not mourned by few in Iran due to the differences in public opinion in the country, it is key to remember that everyone in the West now sees Iran as a rational strategic global actor.

More importantly, Iran has less than 50 days to hold a fresh presidential election while the post of Ebrahim is quietly held by his vice president. There is no room for usurpation.

A presidential election must be held. Iran, in the flash of a moment, has become more democratic than even the US, even though elections alone cannot be the be-all and end-all of how the quality of democracy is measured.

First and foremost, the majority must not exert its will over the minority. Jews and Zoroastrians continue to thrive in Iran. Secondly, there is a peaceful transition of power that is ongoing as the country mourns the demise of Ebrahim and other dignitaries.

Just as importantly, Iran’s nuclear negotiations with the US, the UK, Russia, China and the EU remain on track in Switzerland. Insofar as its relations with the US are concerned, there is an Iranian hotline with and via Oman.

Iran and Turkey’s relationship remains robust. Saudi Arabia and Iran have also reconciled their relationship with the help of China. Although the latter has been reported to break all its relationship with Israel, Teheran is not goading Beijing to go even further than what China is permitted to do.

Time and again, Iran has proven to be the sturdy enabler of regional peace. Over the last eight months, only one ship that belongs to an Israeli owner has been dragged back to Iran in March.

Iran, for the lack of a better phrase, has become the singular provider of peace.

Thus, while there are silhouettes of some macabre shenanigans that attend the downing of Ebrahim’s helicopter, granted that of the four choppers that went up, only his could not withstand the treacherous conditions to reach East Azerbaijan safely, the truth is more powerful than the lies: a new Iran has arrived.

The fact that the wreckage of the helicopter was detected by the drones of Turkey and not Europe nor the US, based on the heat that was emitting from the cold and rain-soaked area north of Iran, implies the concurrent rise of Turkey too.

Is it any wonder why the foreign policy of China and Russia have sought to be close to the two?

For that matter, is it any wonder why Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has urged Malaysia to focus on the Asian Renaissance since the 1990s?

The writer is the founder of Emir Research, a think tank focused on strategic policy recommendations based on rigorous research. Comments: