Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Others Killed in Helicopter Crash

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Others Killed in Helicopter Crash

The Iranian president was inaugurating a dam with the Azerbaijan leader (right). Pic: IRNA

Bad weather is suspected to have caused a helicopter crash in northwest Iran, killing Iran’s president, Ebrahim Raisi, foreign minister, and all other passengers.

Rescue teams discovered the burned wreckage on Monday, over 12 hours after the incident. An Iranian official confirmed, “President Raisi, the foreign minister, and all passengers in the helicopter were killed in the crash.”

Iran’s Mehr news agency reported that all passengers on the helicopter carrying the president and foreign minister had died. State TV confirmed the crash, with no official cause given, but thick fog was present in the area.

Drone footage revealed the tail of the helicopter and scattered debris. The search, involving civilian and military teams, was hindered by the fog and remote location.

A five-day period of national mourning has been declared by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber is now in charge, and elections must be held within 50 days.

Raisi, 63, was traveling from Azerbaijan, where he had inaugurated a dam with the country’s president. Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian, also died in the crash. The governor of East Azerbaijan province, officials, and bodyguards were among the eight fatalities.

The helicopter was part of a convoy of three aircraft, initially described as a “hard landing” by Iranian media. It was an American-made Bell 212 helicopter, purchased in the early 2000s.

World leaders, including India’s Narendra Modi and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, have expressed condolences.

Raisi was elected in 2021, a vote with the lowest turnout in the Islamic republic’s history. He was sanctioned by the US over the mass execution of political prisoners in 1988. His tenure saw protests over the death of Mahsa Amini and an unprecedented drone and missile attack on Israel in April.

Sky’s Middle East correspondent, Alistair Bunkall, suggests that Raisi was not universally popular, and many inside Iran may celebrate his death. The country’s approach to foreign affairs is expected to remain unchanged.

2 thoughts on “Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Others Killed in Helicopter Crash

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