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Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi dies in helicopter crash: State Media
Photo Courtesy: Iran President's website

Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi dies in helicopter crash: State Media

| @indiablooms | 20 May 2024, 10:00 am

Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian have died after the helicopter in which they were travelling crashed in a dense forest area in East Azerbaijan on Sunday, local media reports said.

On Monday morning, it was announced that all the passengers of the crashed helicopter were martyred, reported Mehr news agency.

Head of the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) Pirhossein Kolivand earlier in the day said the spot where the helicopter crash has been located.

There was no sign of surviving passengers, he told the news agency.

A total of nine people, including a provincial governor, were on board when the aircraft went down in northern Iran’s East Azerbaijan province, reported Al Jazeera. They all are believed to be dead, it said.

As many as 73 rescue teams are currently involved in the search operation.

Earlier on Sunday, Ebrahim Raisi inaugurated the Qiz Qalasi and Khodaafarin dams with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

Meanwhile, condolences started pouring in across the world from India to neighbouring countries of Iran. Iraq’s prime minister Mohammed Shia' Al Sudani in a statement said: “With profound sadness and deep sorrow, we received the tragic news of the passing of the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ibrahim Raisi, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, and their companions, due to the unfortunate plane crash incident in northern Iran." 

“We extend our heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, Ali Khamenei, and to the nation of Iran, its government and people. We express our solidarity with the brotherly Iranian people and the officials of the Islamic Republic during this painful tragedy,” the Iraq prime minister said. 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi posted on X: "Deeply saddened and shocked by the tragic demise of Dr. Seyed Ebrahim Raisi, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran. His contribution to strengthening India-Iran bilateral relationship will always be remembered."

"My heartfelt condolences to his family and the people of Iran. India stands with Iran in this time of sorrow," Modi posted. 

Who was Ebrahim Raisi?

In 2021, Raisi was elected as the eighth president of Iran on his second attempt.

The 63-year-old politician was regarded as a potential successor to the country's supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei.

Raisi, a hardline leader, made his first attempt to become the president in 2017 when he failed to win the polls.

In his political career, Raisi served in several positions in Iran's judicial system, such as Deputy Chief Justice (2004–2014), Attorney General (2014–2016), and Chief Justice (2019–2021). 

He was also Prosecutor and Deputy Prosecutor of Tehran in the 1980s and 1990s.

He was often called the "butcher of Tehran" since he was one of the four people on the prosecution committee responsible for the execution of thousands of political prisoners in Iran in 1988. The committee was labeled the "death committee".

While the United States had sanctioned him, he was accused of crimes against humanity by international human rights organizations and United Nations special rapporteurs.

He was Custodian and Chairman of Astan Quds Razavi, a bonyad, from 2016 until 2019. 

He was a member of Assembly of Experts from South Khorasan Province, being elected for the first time in the 2006 election.

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