Iranian President, Foreign Minister Died in Helicopter Crash

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – On Sunday, Iranian media reported that a helicopter carrying Raisi, Amirabdollahian and their companions made a hard landing in northwestern Iran. The delegation was on its way back from a visit to Azerbaijan. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and all other members of the delegation returning from Azerbaijan died in a helicopter crash in northwestern Iran, the Mehr news agency reported on Monday. In addition to Raisi and Amirabdollahian, the imam of Tabriz, Mohammad-Ali Al-Hashem, the head of the East Azerbaijan province, Malek Rahmati, the helicopter crew and one security officer were on board the helicopter, the report said. After the death of President Raisi, Iran’s First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber will serve as head of state for the next 50 days until a new presidential election is held by a special council, the ISNA news agency reported. The council will consist of the heads of the legislative and judicial branches, as well as the first vice president himself, the news agency said, adding that the election can take place in June-July. Mokhber, in turn, said during an emergency meeting that the government will function without disruptions until the new election, as broadcast by Press TV. In addition, the Iranian government is expected to hold another emergency meeting over the death of the country’s president and foreign minister, according to local media. Vice President Confirms Reports of Raisi’s Death Iranian Vice President Mohsen Mansouri confirmed on Monday media reports that Iranian President Raisi and his delegation, including Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian, died in a helicopter crash in northwestern Iran. “We belong to Allah, and truly we will return to Him,” Mansouri said on X, attaching to the post a link to photos of Raisi. This phrase is traditionally used when reporting someone’s death. The bodies are being transported to the mosque of the Iranian city of Tabriz, as the search operations are concluded, Iranian news agency Mehr reported, citing head of the Iranian Red Crescent Society, Pir Hossein Kolivand, as saying.

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South Africa’s Ramaphosa ‘Deeply Saddened’ by Iran’s President Raisi Death

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, who recently invited Iran to join the BRICS group, expressed deep regret Monday over the death of President Ayatollah Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash. “This is an extraordinary, unthinkable tragedy that has claimed a remarkable leader of a nation with whom South Africa enjoys strong bilateral relations,” Ramaphosa said. Ramaphosa visited Iran as deputy president in 2015 and in 2023 welcomed Raisi to a summit of the BRICS group in Johannesburg, where the Islamic republic was formally invited to join. Iran became a full member of the intergovernmental forum in January, along with Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, Egypt, Ethiopia and the United Arab Emirates.

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Videos: Helicopter Carrying Iranian President Raisi Reportedly Crashes in Northwestern Iran

According to reports, Iranian President Raisi was returning from a meeting with Azerbaijani President Aliyev at the border between the two countries, where the dam’s opening ceremony took place. Raisi and his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev opened a new hydroelectric power station “Giz Galasi” on the Araz River. A delegation of the Iranian government led by the vice president went to the site of the hard landing of Raisi’s helicopter, a spokesman for the Iranian Cabinet said. Earlier on Sunday, a helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi crashed in the north-west of the country, Iranian state television channel Press TV reported. Mehr news agency has published footage taken “an hour before the hard landing.” “The president and his companions were returning in several helicopters. One of the helicopters made a hard landing due to weather conditions,” Vahidi said. He added that the situation was “under control.” Rescue teams are expected to arrive at the helicopter landing site, but there is no contact with people accompanying the president, the minister said. “We have contacted the president’s companions, but since the terrain is difficult, there is virtually no communication. We are waiting for rescue teams to reach the crash site and helicopter landing to notify us directly of the situation,” Vahidi was quoted as saying by the Iranian news agency Tasnim. According to the local media, rescuers were trying to reach an area in northwestern Iran where the helicopter is believed to make a hard landing. Bad weather conditions were preventing rescuers from reaching the site in the quickest time possible. A total of 16 rescue squads, including drones and dogs, were reportedly involved in the search efforts. Eight ambulances rushed to the crash site, Tasnim said. The head of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, was on board the helicopter that was involved in an accident, along with the country’s president, Tasnim reported. Fars news agency reported that some people managed to contact the imam of Tabriz’s main mosque, Ayatollah Al-Hashem, who was also on board of the helicopter, immediately after the incident, but at the moment all telephone numbers are unavailable. It is noted that the Iranian President’s motorcade included a total of three helicopters, with two of them, carrying Ministers of Energy and of Roads, reaching their destination safely.

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