President Ebrahim Raisi

President Ebrahim Raisi’s death has been met by muted mourning and furtive celebration as government loyalists packed into mosques and squares to pray for Raisi.

Others were seen celebrating in the streets as they gave out sweets.

Most shops remained open and authorities made little effort to interrupt ordinary life.

Iran proclaimed five days of mourning for President Ebrahim Raisi on Monday, though the muted atmosphere revealed little of the spectacular public grief that has accompanied the deaths of other senior figures in the Islamic Republic’s 45-year history.

A year after Raisis’s hardline government cracked down violently to end the biggest anti-establishment demonstrations since the 1979 revolution, opponents even posted furtive videos online of people giving out sweets to celebrate his death.

Laila a 21-year-old student in Tehran disclosed to Reuters by phone that Raisi’s death hasn’t affected her in any way because Raisi had earlier ordered the crackdown on women for hijab.

“But I am sad because even with Raisi’s death this regime will not change,” Laila said.

The authorities' handling of an array of political, social, and economic crises has deepened the gap between the clerical rulers and society.

Supporters of the clerical establishment spoke admiringly of Raisi, a 63-year-old former hardline jurist elected in a tightly controlled vote in 2021.

“He was a hard-working President. His legacy will endure as long as we are alive,” Mohammad Hussein said.

Many Iranians said they expected that President Raisi’s death to have an impact on how the country would be ruled with the establishment likely to replace him with another figure with similar hardline views.

“Who cares, one hardliner dies another takes over and our misery continues,” one of the citizens said.