Home » Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi Killed in Helicopter Crash

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi Killed in Helicopter Crash

by Mohammed Ahmed

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, a prominent hardliner seen as a potential successor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was killed in a helicopter crash in mountainous terrain near the Azerbaijan border, officials and state media reported on Monday. The helicopter, carrying Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, was found charred after an overnight search amid blizzard conditions.

What We Know So Far:

  • Nine people were on board; no official word on the cause of the crash
  • Convoy’s two other helicopters reached safely, Iranian media says
  • Pakistan to observe day of mourning, flag to fly at half-mast
  • Rescue teams battled blizzards and difficult terrain during night-long efforts aided by other countries

“President Raisi, the foreign minister, and all the passengers in the helicopter were killed in the crash,” a senior Iranian official told Reuters. Raisi’s death was later confirmed by Vice President Mohsen Mansouri and state television.

Raisi had been at the Azerbaijani border on Sunday to inaugurate the Qiz-Qalasi Dam. Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, who had bid a “friendly farewell” to Raisi earlier in the day, offered assistance in the rescue efforts.

Rescue teams faced severe weather and challenging terrain to reach the wreckage in East Azerbaijan province. A total of nine people were on board, according to Tasnim news agency. The convoy included three helicopters, with the other two reaching their destinations safely.

State TV aired images showing the helicopter crashed into a mountain peak, but no official cause of the crash has been disclosed. Iran’s Red Crescent chief, Pirhossein Koolivand, reported that rescue teams were moving towards the helicopter, but the situation was dire.

“The helicopter has been found. Now, we are moving toward the helicopter,” Koolivand said. “The situation is not good.” State TV later reported that there was no sign of survivors.

Iranian media, including Fars news agency, shared drone images of the wreckage. Initial reports on Sunday afternoon indicated that the helicopter had made a hard landing due to bad weather.

Raisi, 63, elected president in 2021, was known for tightening morality laws, cracking down on anti-government protests, and taking a hard stance in nuclear talks with world powers. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei assured Iranians that the government would continue to operate without disruption following Raisi’s death.

“We assure the loyal nation that the path of service will continue with the tireless spirit of Ayatollah Raisi,” a cabinet statement said.

Condolences for a ‘Great Friend’

President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan expressed profound shock and sorrow over Raisi’s death, calling him a remarkable leader who supported the Muslim cause. Zardari highlighted Raisi’s efforts to enhance relations with regional and Islamic countries and recalled his recent visit to Pakistan.

“Today, Pakistan mourns the loss of a great friend,” Zardari said. “During our discussions, I found him very keen on strengthening our bilateral relations.” Zardari emphasized that Raisi would be dearly missed and fondly remembered in Iran, Pakistan, and the Islamic world.

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