HomeWorldMiddle EastIranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian Die in Helicopter...

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian Die in Helicopter Crash

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In a tragic incident, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian were killed in a helicopter crash in East Azerbaijan province on Sunday. 

The state-run media confirmed the deaths, describing Raisi as achieving “the highest level of martyrdom whilst serving the people.”

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The crash occurred as Raisi and Amir-Abdollahian were returning from an official visit to Azerbaijan. They had attended the inauguration of a dam alongside Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. 

The helicopter crashed in a mountainous region near the city of Tabriz amid poor weather conditions, including heavy fog and rain.

After hours of searching, rescuers discovered the burnt-out wreckage on a mountainside. The head of the Iranian Red Crescent, Pir Hossein Kolivand, confirmed that there were “no signs of life” at the crash site

A total of nine people were on board the Bell 212 helicopter, including the governor of East Azerbaijan, Malek Rahmati, and Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Ale-Hashem, the representative of the leader of the Islamic Revolution to East Azerbaijan province.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addressed the nation on Sunday before the wreckage was found, urging Iranians “not to worry” about the country’s leadership. He reassured that “there will be no disruption in the country’s work.”

The Iranian government has yet to issue an official statement, but the state-run news agency IRNA reported that an urgent cabinet meeting had been convened, and a statement was expected soon.

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Iran’s President Raisi was traveling in a Bell 212 helicopter. The country operates a variety of helicopters, but international sanctions have made it difficult for them to obtain parts. Iran’s military air fleet largely dates back to before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Under Article 131 of the Islamic Republic’s constitution, if the president dies in office, the first vice president—in this case, Mohammad Mokhber—assumes the role, with confirmation from the supreme leader. 

A council comprising the first vice president, the speaker of parliament, and the head of the judiciary must organize an election for a new president within 50 days.

The international community has expressed condolences and concern. Countries including Russia, Turkey, and India offered assistance following reports that the helicopter had gone missing. 

Before the confirmation of Raisi’s death, a U.S. State Department spokesperson stated that they were “closely following reports of a possible hard landing of a helicopter in Iran carrying the Iranian president and foreign minister. President Joe Biden had been briefed on the situation.

This incident marks a significant moment in Iran’s political landscape, as the country must now navigate the transition of power and the subsequent presidential election. 

The loss of President Raisi and Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian is a profound blow to the nation, both domestically and in its international relations.

 

This article was created using automation and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our staff editorial members

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