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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi Killed in Helicopter Crash; Foreign Minister Amir Hossein also reported dead..

Tehran: In a tragic incident, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was killed in a helicopter crash. Rescue teams who reached the crash site in the Jofa region of East Azerbaijan province on Sunday confirmed that there were no survivors. Unconfirmed reports suggest that Foreign Minister Amir Hossein Amir-Abdollahian was also among the casualties.

Crash Details

The helicopter carrying President Raisi (63) crashed due to adverse weather conditions, as reported by Iranian media. The search for the helicopter was hampered by bad weather and dense fog, making the rescue mission challenging. The isolated mountainous region added to the difficulty of the search operation.

Inauguration Trip Ends in Tragedy

President Raisi was returning to Tabriz in northwestern Iran after inaugurating a dam on the Aras River, located on the border with Azerbaijan. The presidential fleet consisted of three helicopters; two successfully reached their destination, while the third, carrying Raisi, the Foreign Minister, and local officials, went missing.

National and International Reactions

Special prayers were held nationwide, including in Raisi’s hometown of Mashhad, with thousands participating in hopes of his safety.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s spokesperson stated that the UN is closely monitoring the situation. Numerous countries, including those from the European Union, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Turkey, have extended their support in the search efforts. The European Commission has provided satellite mapping services to aid the mission.

Conflicting Reports

State TV, citing an Iranian official, initially reported that the victims had been in contact with rescuers. However, the Iranian Red Crescent refuted this, although they confirmed the helicopter had been located. Interior Minister Ahmed Vahidi attributed the crash to severe weather conditions and mentioned the failure to establish communication with the President’s aircraft.

Supreme Leader’s Assurance

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, addressed the nation, reassuring that there would be no disruption in the country’s leadership. He expressed hope for the president and his companions’ safe return, though later confirmation came of the tragic loss.

Raisi’s Legacy

Ebrahim Raisi, a staunch anti-Israel advocate and an uncompromising conservative, became Iran’s president in June 2021. Known for tightening hijab laws, his tenure saw significant events, including the protest following the death of Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in police custody in September 2022. Raisi’s administration marked a notable restoration of diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia in March 2023.

The nation and the world mourn the loss of a prominent leader as search and rescue operations continue in the challenging terrain.

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