Monday, May 20, 2024

Iran’s president, foreign minister, 7 others killed in helicopter crash


Iran’s President, Ebrahim Raisi, has died after a helicopter carrying him and other officials crashed in a mountainous and forested area of the country due to poor weather on Sunday, May 19.


The helicopter was carrying the Iranian president, as well as the country’s foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and 7 other senior officials, when it crashed in the mountainous northwest area of Iran.

Iran was thrown into uncertainty on Sunday as search and rescue teams scoured a fog-shrouded mountain area after the helicopter went missing.

Fears grew for the 63-year-old ultraconservative after contact was lost with the aircraft. The supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had urged Iranians to “not worry” about the leadership of the Islamic republic, saying “there will be no disruption in the country’s work”.


“We hope that Almighty God will bring our dear president and his companions back in full health into the arms of the nation,” he said in a nationally televised address as Muslim faithful prayed for Raisi’s safe return.


More than 60 rescue teams using search dogs and drones were sent to the mountainous protected forest area of Dizmar near the town of Varzaghan. The crash site was later discovered and no survivor was found there.


The helicopter crashed weeks after Iran launched a drone-and-missile attack on Israel in response to a deadly strike on its diplomatic compound in Damascus.


Hardliner Raisi became president in a historically uncompetitive election in 2021. Previously as the chief justice, he oversaw a period of intensified repression of dissent in a nation convulsed by youth-led protests against clerical rule. 

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