Who is Mohammad Mokhber, Iran's Interim President?

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. EPA
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. EPA
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Who is Mohammad Mokhber, Iran's Interim President?

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. EPA
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. EPA

Here are some key facts about Mohammad Mokhber, 68, Iran's first vice president who became interim president on the death of Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash.
* As interim president, Mokhber is part of a three-person council, along with the speaker of parliament and the head of the judiciary, that will organize a new presidential election within 50 days of the president's death.
* Born on Sept. 1, 1955, Mokhber, like Raisi, is seen as close to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who has the last say in all matters of state. Mokhber became first vice president in 2021 when Raisi was elected president.
* Mokhber was part of a team of Iranian officials who visited Moscow in October and agreed to supply surface-to-surface missiles and more drones to Russia's military, sources told Reuters at the time. The team also included two senior officials from Iran's Revolutionary Guards and an official from the Supreme National Security Council.
* Mokhber had previously been head of Setad, an investment fund linked to the supreme leader.
* In 2010, the European Union included Mokhber on a list of individuals and entities it was sanctioning for alleged involvement in "nuclear or ballistic missile activities". Two years later, it removed him from the list.
* In 2013, the US Treasury Department added Setad and 37 companies it oversaw to a list of sanctioned entities.
* Setad, whose full name is Setad Ejraiye Farmane Hazrate Emam, or the Headquarters for Executing the Order of the Imam, was set up under an order issued by the founder of Iran, Khamenei's predecessor, Khomeini. It ordered aides to sell and manage properties supposedly abandoned in the chaotic years after the 1979 Iranian Revolution and channel the bulk of the proceeds to charity.



President: Philippines Not in Business of Instigating Wars

FILE PHOTO: Philippines' President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. looks on as he meets with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, at Malacanang Palace in Manila, Philippines, March 19, 2024. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/Pool/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Philippines' President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. looks on as he meets with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, at Malacanang Palace in Manila, Philippines, March 19, 2024. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/Pool/File Photo
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President: Philippines Not in Business of Instigating Wars

FILE PHOTO: Philippines' President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. looks on as he meets with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, at Malacanang Palace in Manila, Philippines, March 19, 2024. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/Pool/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Philippines' President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. looks on as he meets with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, at Malacanang Palace in Manila, Philippines, March 19, 2024. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/Pool/File Photo

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr said on Sunday his country is not in the business of instigating wars and will always aim to settle disputes peacefully, amid escalating maritime confrontations with China.
"In defending the nation, we stay true to our Filipino nature that we would like to settle all these issues peacefully," Marcos said in a speech to troops of the Western Command unit in charge of overseeing the South China Sea.
Philippine navy personnel and the Chinese coast guard had their latest clash during a routine resupply mission by Manila in the South China Sea last week, in which it said a sailor was severely injured and vessels damaged.
China's Coast Guard personnel carrying knives and spears looted firearms and "deliberately punctured" Philippine boats involved in the mission, the Philippine military said.
China disputed the Philippine account, with a foreign ministry spokesperson saying on Thursday the necessary measures taken were lawful, professional and beyond reproach.
Marcos, who did not name China in his speech, commended the troops for exercising restraint "amidst intense provocation", and said his country would always exercise its freedoms and rights in line with international law.
"In the performance of our duties, we will not resort to the use of force or intimidation, or deliberately inflict injury or harm to anyone," Reuters quoted Marcos as saying. "We stand firm. Our calm and peaceful disposition should not be mistaken for acquiescence."
Recent maritime run-ins between China and the Philippines, a US treaty ally in Southeast Asia, have made the highly strategic South China Sea a potential flashpoint between Washington and Beijing.
The United States has condemned China's actions and reaffirmed its ironclad defense commitments against any attack on Philippine aircraft or vessels in the South China Sea under their mutual defense treaty.
But the Philippines said on Friday there was no reason to invoke the treaty because China's actions, which security officials have described as escalatory, could not be classified as an "armed attack".
China claims almost the entire South China Sea, a conduit for more than $3 trillion of annual shipborne commerce, including parts claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.
In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague said China's claims had no legal basis, a decision Beijing has rejected.
"We are not in the business to instigate wars - our great ambition is to provide a peaceful and prosperous life for every Filipino," Marcos said. "We refuse to play by the rules that force us to choose sides in a great power competition."