Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi confirmed dead in helicopter crash

World News

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and the country’s foreign minister were found dead Monday morning at the site of a helicopter crash, state media confirmed, following an hours-long search for the wreckage in Iran’s mountainous East Azerbaijan province.
IRAN – MAY 20: (—-EDITORIAL USE ONLY – MANDATORY CREDIT – ‘IRANIAN RED CRESCENT SOCIETY / HANDOUT’ – NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS – DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS—-) A screen grab captured from a video shows the location of wreck of helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his delegation has been detected in Iran on May 20, 2024. Helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi crashed after the inauguration of a dam on the border along with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Jabrayil district of Azerbaijan on May 19, 2024. (Photo by Iranian Red Crescent Society/Anadolu via Getty Images)
Key Takeaways
  • According to the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency, everyone onboard the helicopter with Raisi was killed in the crash in the country’s northwest region, near Iran’s border with Azerbaijan.
  • Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, East Azarbaijan Province’s Governor Malek Rahmati, other local officials and bodyguards were on the helicopter with Raisi.
  • The crash happened Sunday night, but search and rescue efforts had been hampered by the mountainous terrain, icy conditions and thick fog.
  • The cause of the crash has not been reported.
Crucial Quote

The Iranian cabinet held an emergency meeting on Monday morning and later issued a statement hailing Raisi as a “hero and the servant of the nation and the loyal friend of the Supreme Leader.” The cabinet vowed to follow Raisi’s path and said “with the help of God and the people, there will be no problem with the management of the country.”

What To Watch

As per the Iranian constitution, First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber will take over as the country’s acting president and a new presidential election must take place within 50 days. According to state media, Mokhber chaired the emergency cabinet meeting on Monday.

Key Background

The helicopter carrying Raisi and the officials crashed on Sunday evening local time. The Iranian president’s chopper was flying him to the city of Tabriz in the country’s northwest after he inaugurated a nearby dam along the border with Azerbaijan earlier in the day. Initial reports by local media suggested the helicopter had suffered a “hard landing.”

Two other helicopters that were part of the convoy landed safely at their destination. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had urged his country’s people to pray for for Raisi after news of the crash was first reported. It was believed that Khamenei had been preparing the hard-liner Raisi to succeed him as Iran’s supreme leader.

More from Forbes Australia