Home General News Iran’s president and foreign minister killed in crash

Iran’s president and foreign minister killed in crash

The helicopter came down in a remote area of north-western Iran on the way back from Azerbaijan where Mr Raisi had been meeting President Ilham Aliyev.

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Iran’s President, Ebrahim Raisi, has been killed in a helicopter crash in a mountainous area of north-western Iran, the country’s state media has said.

He was travelling with Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and several others.

A large search and rescue operation to try and locate the aircraft was launched on Sunday – with Russia and Turkey among the countries assisting in the effort.

It was initially reported that the helicopter carrying Mr Raisi and the foreign minister had made a rough landing in foggy conditions.

The helicopter came down in a remote area of north-western Iran on the way back from Azerbaijan where Mr Raisi had been meeting President Ilham Aliyev.

On Monday, the Iranian Red Crescent confirmed the bodies of the president and others who died in the crash had been recovered and search operations had ended.

“We are in the process of transferring the bodies of the martyrs to Tabriz [in Iran’s northwest],” the organisation’s chief said on state television.

According to local media, he had been in the area to open the Qiz Qalasi and Khodaafarin dams.

Ahead of the confirmation of the death, vigils had taken place in the capital, Tehran, with pictures showing people kneeling in prayer.

Mr Raisi, 63, was a hard-line cleric close to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and was seen by some as a potential successor to the 85-year-old.

His election as president in 2021 consolidated the control of conservatives over every part of the Islamic Republic.

In a statement following his death, the Iranian government said it would continue to operate “without disruption”.

Several countries have expressed their condolences following President Raisi’s death.

In Pakistan, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif announced a national day of mourning and described Mr Raisi and Mr Amir-Abdollahian as “good friends of Iran”.

Writing on social media, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “deeply saddened and shocked” by the deaths.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his government was “in full contact and coordination with the Iranian authorities” and was ready to “provide any necessary support”.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed his condolences and said the president and foreign minister were “true, reliable friends of our country”.

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