Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi Confirmed Dead after Helicopter Crash

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi has been confirmed dead after the helicopter he was traveling crashed in the mountains, Iranian state media is reporting.

Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, and other officials were confirmed dead on Monday.

Their helicopter crashed on Sunday in a mountainous region of the country’s northwest, triggering a desperate search by authorities.

The mountainous terrain and bad weather made the search difficult under darkness on Sunday night.

However, the crash site was located early on Monday morning.

State TV said earlier on Monday that there was “no sign of life” at the crash site.

The helicopter that was carrying 63-year-old Raisi, 60-year-old Abdollahian, and other officials reportedly made a “hard landing” on Sunday.

According to state media, the crash site was across a steep valley, which gave no immediate cause for the crash.

The head of the Iranian Red Crescent Society Pir Hossein Kolivand told state media rescuers saw the helicopter as the sun rose on Monday from a distance of roughly 1.25 miles.

The officials had been missing for more than 12 hours when the helicopter was finally found.

Raisi and Amir-Abdollahian were traveling in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province when the helicopter made, what state TV described, as a “hard landing” near Jolfa.

Jolfa is a city on the border with the nation of Azerbaijan, roughly 375 miles northwest of Tehran.

State TV later said it crashed further east near the village of Uzi, although details remained contradictory.

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According to the state-run IRNA news agency, the governor of the East Azerbaijan province and other officials and bodyguards were also aboard.

One local government official described what happened as a “crash.”

However, state media and other officials referred to it as a “hard landing” or an “incident.”

“The esteemed president and company were on their way back aboard some helicopters and one of the helicopters was forced to make a hard landing due to the bad weather and fog,” Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi said in comments aired on state TV.

The incident comes as Iran, under Raisi and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, launched an unprecedented drone and missile attack against Israel last month.

Iran has also faced years of mass protests against its Shiite theocracy in response to a struggling economy and attacks on women’s rights.

The nation has also seen plummeting voter participation in elections.

Raisi has had blood on his hands for decades, having been involved in the mass execution of prisoners in the late 1980s.

He previously ran Iran’s judiciary.

Raisi ran unsuccessfully for president in 2017 against Hassan Rouhani, the relatively moderate cleric who as president reached Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

In 2021, Raisi became president of Iran in an election that saw all of his potentially prominent opponents barred from running under Iran’s vetting system.

He swept nearly 62% of the 28.9 million votes, the lowest turnout by percentage in the Islamic Republic’s history.

Millions stayed home and others voided ballots.

Only 41% of the nation’s citizens cast votes in the election.

Iran is ultimately run by its 85-year-old supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Khamenei has announced five days of public mourning for Raisi after his death.

He also confirmed Vice President Mohammad Mokhber as interim head of the country’s executive branch.

Iran now has a maximum period of 50 days before a presidential election must be held to choose Raisi’s successor, Reuters reports.

“I announce five days of public mourning and offer my condolences to the dear people of Iran,” Khamenei said in a statement carried by IRNA.

“Mokhber will manage the executive branch and is obliged to arrange with the heads of the legislative and judicial branches to elect a new president within a maximum of 50 days,” he said.

READ MORE – Netanyahu Issues Chilling Warning as Iran’s President Vows to Destroy Israel

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By Frank Bergman

Frank Bergman is a political/economic journalist living on the east coast. Aside from news reporting, Bergman also conducts interviews with researchers and material experts and investigates influential individuals and organizations in the sociopolitical world.

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