World News

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi Dies in Helicopter Crash, Confirms State Media

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, along with Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and other officials, died on Monday after their helicopter crashed in a foggy, mountainous area in northwest Iran. Raisi was 63 years old.

The crash happened as the Middle East is already tense due to the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. Just last month, Raisi, under the guidance of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, launched a significant drone-and-missile attack on Israel. Under his leadership, Iran also advanced its uranium enrichment and supplied drones to Russia for the Ukraine war, while continuing to support groups like Yemen’s Houthi rebels and Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Domestically, Iran has been grappling with mass protests over its economy and women’s rights.

State TV did not immediately provide a cause for the crash, which occurred in East Azerbaijan province. The Iranian Red Crescent has recovered the bodies from the crash site.

Witnesses said the crash site was in a mountainous area, about 12 miles south of the Azerbaijan-Iran border. Turkish authorities released drone footage showing what appeared to be the crash wreckage.

Supreme Leader Khamenei had urged the public to pray for Raisi and his colleagues the night before the crash was confirmed. Following the incident, Iran’s First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber took over Raisi’s duties and an emergency Cabinet meeting was held. The Cabinet pledged to continue Raisi’s policies and manage the country effectively.

Raisi, a hard-liner who previously led Iran’s judiciary, was seen as a potential successor to Khamenei. His death leaves a significant void in Iran’s leadership. Raisi had won the 2021 presidential election with the lowest turnout in the history of the Islamic Republic.

Raisi is the second Iranian president to die in office, following President Mohammad Ali Rajai who was killed in a bomb blast in 1981.

The crash adds to the list of challenges faced by Iran, already under international sanctions that affect its ability to maintain its military equipment, including helicopters. Raisi’s death comes at a sensitive time for Iran and the region, leaving questions about the country’s future leadership.

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