Saturday, June 22, 2024

Iran President Raisi, Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian 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 was president for nearly three years, and appeared on track to run for re-election next year.

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

Also killed in the crash was Iranian Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian, an experienced diplomat who helped secure the recent rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Tributes and condolences are pouring in from regional and international leaders.

An official told Reuters that the helicopter was found completely burned and all passengers were feared dead.

The head of Iran’s Red Crescent, Pirhossein Kolivand, earlier told state television that “no sign” of life was detected among passengers of the helicopter that crashed on Sunday afternoon.

“Upon finding the helicopter, there was no sign of the helicopter passengers being alive as of yet,” state TV reported.

Iranian state media said images of the wreckage indicate that the helicopter had crashed into a mountain peak, although there was no official word yet on the cause of the crash.

According to the Iranian constitution, in the event of the death of the president, the vice president, with the approval of Iran’s supreme leader, is to assume the president’s responsibilities.

First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber Mohammad Mokhber, 68, is now expected to become interim president.

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