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Iran Mourns As President Ebrahim Raisi Dies In Helicopter Crash

According to an Iranian official speaking to news agency, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his Foreign Minister perished in a helicopter crash while flying over mountains covered in dense fog.

“The servant of Iranian nation, Ayatollah Ebrahim Raisi has achieved the highest level of martyrdom whilst serving the people,” state-run media reported today. The incident happened on President Raisi’s aircraft back to Tabriz, Iran, following his and President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan’s groundbreaking of the Qiz Qalasi Dam on their shared border. You may watch video footage from the crash scene here.

About thirty minutes into the journey, the chopper carrying President Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, and other officials lost communication. This led to urgent worries and a large-scale search and rescue effort.

Iran’s official media initially referred to the occurrence as a “accident.” Two members of the president’s entourage had contacted rescue personnel, according to Mohsen Mansouri, Iran’s Deputy President for Executive Affairs, raising the possibility that the situation may not have been as disastrous as initially thought. Mansouri continued, saying that the possible crash site had been reduced to a two-kilometer radius by the Ministry of Communications.

Iranian state media reported that Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Diplomacy Mehdi Safari claimed that the Tabriz Friday prayer leader had managed to speak with President Raisi, 63, via phone from the downed helicopter. “Mehdi Safari, who was present in one of the three helicopters carrying President Raisi’s entourage, said the Tabriz Friday prayer leader had made a phone call to the president from inside the crashed copter,” the report reads.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, advised composure and gave his word that the government would not be disrupted. “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 during a broadcast speech.

More than sixty rescue teams, comprising police, army, and Revolutionary Guard personnel, were combing over the misty, hilly terrain in an attempt to find the missing person. These efforts had been severely impeded by the severe weather and dense fog.

The world community has voiced its worries and provided support. Support has been promised by nearby nations and organisations, such as Syria, Russia, Turkey, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the European Union. To help with the search, the EU has even turned on its fast reaction mapping service.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday expressed his condolences with a post on social media. “Deeply saddened and shocked by the tragic demise of Dr. Seyed Ebrahim Raisi, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran. His contribution to strengthening India-Iran bilateral relationship will always be remembered. My heartfelt condolences to his family and the people of Iran. India stands with Iran in this time of sorrow,” PM Modi posted on X.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani expressed appreciation for the global support and assistance offers. A representative for the State Department said that they are closely observing developments, and US President Joe Biden has been briefed on the issue.

After a period of increased tensions in the region, especially because of the Gaza conflict and Iran’s recent escalation with Israel, this incident occurred. Having taken office in 2021, President Raisi has repeatedly reaffirmed Iran’s unwavering support for Palestine in his recent speech to inaugurate a dam.

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