Home Asia President Of Iran, Foreign Minister Missing After Helicopter Crash

President Of Iran, Foreign Minister Missing After Helicopter Crash

"We are still hopeful but information coming from the crash site is very concerning," said an official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi was killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday.

Dubai: A helicopter carrying President Ebrahim Raisi of Iran and his foreign minister crashed on Sunday in heavy fog on the way back from a visit to the border with Azerbaijan, an Iranian official told Reuters.

Iran’s Interior Minister Ahmed Vahidi told state TV that one of the helicopters in a group of three had come down hard, and that authorities were awaiting further details.

But another official said the lives of Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian were “at risk following the helicopter crash”.

“We are still hopeful but information coming from the crash site is very concerning,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

State news agency IRNA said bad weather was complicating rescue efforts. State TV stopped its regular programming to show nationwide prayers held for Raisi and live coverage of rescue teams searching the mountainous area on foot in heavy fog.

The 63-year-old was elected president of Iran in 2021. Since taking office he ordered a tightening of morality laws and overseen a bloody crackdown on anti-government protests. He has also pushed hard in nuclear talks with world powers.

In Iran, it is the supreme leader (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) rather than the president who has the final say on all major policies. But Raisi is seen as a strong contender to become the next Ayatollah.

Raisi had been at the Azerbaijani border to inaugurate the Qiz-Qalaisi Dam, a joint project.

“Today, after bidding a friendly farewell to the (visiting) President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi, we were profoundly troubled by the news of a helicopter carrying the top delegation crash-landing in Iran,” said Azeri President Ilham Aliyev.

“Our prayers to Allah Almighty are with President Ebrahim Raisi and the accompanying delegation. As a neighbour, friend, and brotherly country, the Republic of Azerbaijan stands ready to offer any assistance needed,” he said.

“We are closely following reports of a possible hard landing of a helicopter in Iran carrying the Iranian president and foreign minister,” said a US State Department release.

A spokesperson for US President Biden, Karine Jean-Pierre, told reporters aboard Air Force One that the president had been briefed on the situation. She did not elaborate.

The Iraqi government said in a statement it had instructed its interior ministry, the Red Crescent and other relevant bodies to offer help to neighbouring Iran in the search mission.

This is s developing story, and will be updated as and when fresh information comes in.

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In a career spanning over three decades and counting, I’ve been the Foreign Editor of The Telegraph, Outlook Magazine and The New Indian Express. I helped set up rediff.com’s editorial operations in San Jose and New York, helmed sify.com, and was the founder editor of India.com.

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