Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi Dies in Helicopter Crash: State Media

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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, along with Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and several other officials, perished in a helicopter crash, Iranian state media reported on Monday. The crash, which occurred in foggy conditions in northern Iran’s mountainous region, left the nation without two key diplomatic figures amid heightened regional tensions due to the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Following the announcement, Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, convened an emergency government meeting and appointed First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber as the acting president. Khamenei also declared five days of national mourning.

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The helicopter was returning from an event near the Iran-Azerbaijan border when it crashed. State media released images of the wreckage but did not provide an immediate cause for the crash. Rescue teams, including drones and dogs, conducted intensive search operations. Earlier reports indicated that two passengers had communicated with rescue workers, and the Iranian military assisted in the efforts.

International reactions included Pakistan’s declaration of a day of mourning and Russian President Vladimir Putin sending condolences to Khamenei.

Ebrahim Raisi, a former cleric and judge, was elected president in 2021, succeeding Hassan Rouhani. Raisi was known for his hard-line stance and continued commitment to Iran’s nuclear deal despite the U.S. withdrawal in 2018. His recent tenure saw increased regional tensions, including a celebrated attack on Israel following a deadly airstrike in Damascus.

Iran’s president heads the government, but the supreme leader holds ultimate authority, overseeing national policies and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. According to Iran’s constitution, the first vice president assumes the presidency upon the president’s death, with a new election to be held within 50 days.

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