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Iran’s President Raisi Killed In Helicopter Crash

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi has died after a helicopter carrying him and other officials crashed in a mountainous and forested area of the country in poor weather.

The 63-year-old, a figure representing conservative and hardline factions in Iranian politics, was President for nearly three years and appeared on track to run for re-election next year.

A former chief justice, Raisi was touted as a potential successor to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the 85-year-old supreme leader of Iran.

Raisi was the eighth Iranian President since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

Raisi’s death was later confirmed in a statement on social media by Vice President Mohsen Mansouri and on state television.

State TV reported that images from the site showed the aircraft slammed into a mountain peak, although there was no official word on the cause of the crash.

Raisi, 63, was elected president in 2021, and since taking office has ordered a tightening of morality laws, overseen a bloody crackdown on anti-government protests and pushed hard in nuclear talks with world powers.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who holds ultimate power with a final say on foreign policy and Iran’s nuclear programme, had earlier sought to reassure Iranians, saying there would be no disruption to state affairs.

Rescue teams fought blizzards and difficult terrain through the night to reach the wreckage in the early hours of Monday.

“With the discovery of the crash site, no signs of life have been detected among the helicopter’s passengers,” the head of Iran’s Red Crescent, Pirhossein Kolivand, told state TV.

Earlier, the national broadcaster had stopped all regular programming to show prayers being held for Raisi across the country.

Former Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has expressed his condolences on the “martyrdom” of his successor Hossein Amirabdollahian along with President Raisi.

Zarif described Amirabdollahian as “my dear brother”.

In a message posted on Instagram, Zarif wrote that news of the accident was “painful”.

“I wish God’s pleasure for the martyrs, peace and patience for the survivors, and solidarity and progress for the Iranian people.”

Wreckage of the helicopter showed that the chances of anyone surviving in the accident were quite slim.

The whole cabin of the helicopter was completely burned.

Iranian authorities are also saying that some of the bodies were burned beyond recognition, and that they have not been able to identify who is who at the site.

Raisi and Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian, along with others who were on board the helicopter that crashed, have died, multiple Iranian news agencies have confirmed.

Iranian and international media outlets have shared photos of the crash site, showing Raisi’s helicopter in pieces on the side of a mountain.

One of the photos posted on social media by Al Jazeera correspondent Ali Hashem showed the tail of the helicopter upside down in a grassy area.


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