Brian Mast, Mike Waltz say Iranian President’s death changes nothing regarding ongoing tensions

IRNA AP Iran helicopter crash image via AP
The Ayatollah is who really matters.

Don’t expect the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran to change in the wake of the deaths of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian.

That’s the major takeaway from comments from two members of Congress from Florida.

During an interview on Fox Business‘ “Mornings with Maria,” U.S. Rep. Brian Mast depicted Raisi as a fundamentally “executive” figure who didn’t hold real power, by way of suggesting the helicopter death wouldn’t lead to a shift in the country’s belligerent posture toward the United States.

“What does this mean for American national security? Of our allies? What does this mean for future attacks on Israel and the sentiment across the whole of the Middle East? And the important thing to realize: The Ayatollah (is) the supreme leader of Iran,” said Mast, who represents Florida’s 21st Congressional District.

“It’s a lifetime supreme leader post,” Mast continued. “And the President of Iran is really an executive position, answering to the supreme leader, going to execute the will of the supreme leader. So I don’t see a change in this for attitudes towards America for what America’s attitude should be towards Iran. For what change in policy could take place towards Israel, I don’t see any change in that whatsoever.”

During a Fox News interview, U.S. Rep. Mike Waltz offered a similar analysis after saying “good riddance” to Raisi, noting that he doesn’t expect “major changes” in the foreign policy picture.

“I don’t think it will make that much of a difference. The President is more like a chief operating officer. It’s the Ayatollah that really matters,” said Waltz, a military veteran representing Florida’s 6th Congressional District.

Per The Associated Press, the helicopter crashed amid fog in the northern part of the country, killing eight people. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appointed First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber as acting President.

Mast doesn’t believe this was a hit job.

“I have no reason to believe that this wasn’t an accident. All reporting coming out of the Middle East, whether you’re looking at that from Turkey, from Qatar, from Saudi Arabia, from anybody that was helping with the search and rescue effort, all seemed to indicate that this was entirely due to weather, heavy, dense fog that was even preventing them from finding the crash site for a number of hours.

Waltz, meanwhile, offered no speculation either way on that point.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Ocean Joe

    May 20, 2024 at 9:39 am

    The current troubles in Gaza, the Houthis, Hezbollah was all financed, encouraged and directed by the Persians. Live by the sword, die by the sword…or by bad weather and a long standing US parts embargo on aviation.
    May they join Soleimani and all their virgins now.

  • Dont Say FLA

    May 20, 2024 at 10:23 am

    I got 10 bucks says that Ayatollah will be the next to have an accident.

    • MH/Duuuval

      May 21, 2024 at 9:03 am

      Natural causes.

  • James Cocores MD

    May 21, 2024 at 11:41 am

    I’m not afraid I have to disagree with Mr Mast and Mr Waltz. Iranian intelligence knows three helicopters left, and only one crashed. They are not as naive as your Congressional briefings. This increases the chances of Floridians experiencing pain and suffering.

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