Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi dead in helicopter crash

    Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi has died in a helicopter crash. Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and seven other people were also confirmed dead in the crash along with President Ebrahim Raisi, state media reported. The flight came down on Sunday in remote and mountainous north west.

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    The state news agency IRNA quoted “local sources” at the crash site in north-western Iran, confirming “the martyrdom of the President and his companions”. Also on the helicopter was Iran’s foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian.

    Politicians and officials turned to social media to cite a Quranic verse used for the deceased. Mohsen Mansouri, a vice-president for executive affairs, wrote on X in Arabic: “We belong to God and to Him we return.”

    The helicopter carrying the president came down on Sunday in a remote and mountainous region in Arasbaran Forest, near the border with Azerbaijan, according to Tasnim News Agency, which is closely linked to the elite Revolutionary Guards.

    Rescue teams battled for hours to reach the crash site, with fog and snow hindering efforts.

    The president and his entourage were returning from a visit to the country’s north-western province of East Azerbaijan, where they took part in the inauguration of a dam. The president of northern neighbour Azerbaijan was present at the ceremony as well.

    Raisi, 63, was elected in 2021 in a vote with a record-low turnout in the country’s history. He had been expected to seek re-election next year, and his name had emerged in political circles as a top candidate to succeed Iran’s supreme leader, 85-year-old Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

    The president showed unconditional loyalty to the ayatollah and maintained close relations with the Revolutionary Guards. After decades of tense relations between Iran’s presidents and the supreme leader over the extent of their powers, Raisi was the first to end these tensions.


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