June 18, 2024

Iranian officials confirmed the President and foreign minister are dead

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has been confirmed dead after a helicopter crash on Sunday in a mountainous region of northwestern Iran. Raisi, 63, was considered to the most likely candidate to replace Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as Iran’s supreme leader.

President Raisi, the foreign minister and all the passengers in the helicopter were killed in the crash,” a senior Iranian official told Reuters.

Iran’s Mehr news agency reported that “all passengers of the helicopter… were martyred.”

The announcement came after a desperate search to find the wreckage of the helicopter, which also contained the country’s foreign minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian, and other passengers.

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The search was made difficult by the remote location and by fog. Some have speculated that the fog was the cause of the crash, but there have been no official pronouncements in this regard.

Footage broadcast on Iranian media showed a rescue team searching a mountainside in the dead of night, in blizzard conditions. Other footage showed the wreckage of the helicopter, which Iranian media said was an American-made Bell 212.

JUST IN: Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi is confirmed dead after rescuers reached the crash site.

Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian is also dead.

The discovery came after a long night of searching in freezing conditions.

Shortly before the discovery, Iranian Red… pic.twitter.com/OXdqD0GTll

— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) May 20, 2024

Raisi had been travelling back to Iran after opening the Qiz-Qalasi dam in neighbouring Azerbaijan, which had been built as a joint project between the two nations.

The death of President Raisi comes at a dangerous time in the region, with Israel’s ongoing war against Hamas and Iran’s retaliatory attack on Israel, which Raisi ordered after an Israeli attack on Iranian personnel in Syria.

Before the announcement of the president’s death, Ayatollah Khomenei sought to reassure Iranians that the running of the country would not be affected by his disappearance.

Under the Iranian constitution, the vice president will take over, with Khomenei’s approval, and a new election will be held in 50 days.

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