Helicopter Crash Involving Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi Sparks Nationwide Concern

Helicopter Crash Involving Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi Sparks Nationwide Concern
President Ebrahim Raisi

A helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, crashed on a fog-covered mountainside, prompting an urgent search and rescue operation. The incident occurred near Jolfa, on the border with Azerbaijan, as state media called for nationwide prayers.

State TV reported conflicting details about the crash, with initial reports stating contact with survivors, but later uncertainty arose as Iranian Red Crescent rescuers indicated no helicopter had been located. President Raisi and his delegation were returning from a dam inauguration with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reassured the nation, urging calm and asserting, “No disruption will occur in Iran’s state affairs.” An Iranian official expressed concern over Raisi and Amir-Abdollahian’s safety, stating, “We are still hopeful, but information from the crash site is very concerning.”

The crash was attributed to severe weather conditions, complicating rescue efforts. Rescue teams, including over 40 units with search dogs and drones, have been deployed. Footage showed Red Crescent teams navigating thick fog, and worshippers in Mashhad praying for the president’s safety.

Iran’s interior minister, Ahmad Vahidi, described the helicopter’s “hard landing” due to fog and rugged terrain, emphasizing ongoing efforts to reach the crash site.

Raisi, a hardliner and former judiciary chief, has been under US sanctions and is seen as a potential successor to Khamenei. His presidency has seen Iran’s uranium enrichment approach weapons-grade levels and continued military actions in the region.

Countries including Iraq, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia have extended well-wishes, while Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan expressed hope for positive news. The European Union offered satellite mapping for search efforts, and the US State Department is monitoring the situation closely.

In the event of Raisi’s death, Iran’s constitution mandates Vice-President Mohammad Mokhber to assume presidential duties, with elections to be arranged within 50 days.

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