HomePOPULARIranian President and Foreign Minister Die in Helicopter Crash

Iranian President and Foreign Minister Die in Helicopter Crash

Tehran, Iran – Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian were killed when their helicopter crashed in mountainous terrain under heavy fog, an Iranian official told reporters. The incident occurred during their return flight to Tabriz after inaugurating the Qiz Qalasi Dam on the Iran-Azerbaijan border with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. State television reported that there were no signs of survivors from the crash site.

The helicopter, which was carrying President Raisi, Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian, and other officials, lost contact approximately 30 minutes into the flight, sparking immediate concerns and a massive search and rescue operation. Initial reports from Iran’s state media described the situation as an “accident.” Iran’s Deputy President for Executive Affairs, Mohsen Mansouri, indicated that two members of the president’s entourage had contacted rescue teams, suggesting that the incident might not have been catastrophic.

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 via phone from the downed helicopter. This initial contact had raised hopes for survivors. However, the extensive search effort, involving more than 60 rescue teams including army, Revolutionary Guard forces, and police units, has been significantly hampered by heavy fog and harsh weather conditions. The Red Crescent chief, Pirhossein Koolivand, mentioned that the team had detected a “smell of fuel” in one area, which rescue teams are now focusing on.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged calm and assured the nation that there would be no disruption in governance. “We hope that Almighty God will bring our dear president and his companions back in full health into the arms of the nation,” he stated in a televised address. The search and rescue operations continue under challenging conditions, with the Iranian government and international community closely monitoring the situation for further developments.

The international community has expressed concern and offered assistance. Neighboring countries and international organizations, including Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Russia, Turkey, and the European Union, have pledged support. The EU has even activated its rapid response mapping service to aid in the search efforts. US President Joe Biden has been briefed on the situation, with a State Department spokesman confirming they are closely monitoring developments.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his “deep concern” with a post on social media. “Deeply concerned by reports regarding President Raisi’s helicopter flight today. We stand in solidarity with the Iranian people in this hour of distress, and pray for the well-being of the President and his entourage,” he said in a post on X. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani conveyed gratitude for the international solidarity and offers of help.

This incident follows a period of heightened regional tensions, particularly in light of the Gaza conflict and Iran’s recent escalations with Israel. President Raisi, who has been in office since 2021, has pledged Iran’s steadfast support for Palestine, a stance reiterated during his recent dam inauguration speech. The tragic crash has brought about a period of uncertainty and intense focus on the stability of Iran’s leadership during these turbulent times.

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