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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is feared dead following a helicopter crash: state media

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi speaks during a meeting with the cabinet in Tehran, Iran, October 8, 2023.
Wana News Agency | Reuters

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is feared to have died in a helicopter crash along with Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, state media reported Monday.

Iranian state television reported there were “no sign of life” at the crash site of the helicopter that carried Raisi, Amirabdollahian, and others.

Raisi was returning from a ceremony to inaugurate a dam on Iran’s common border with the Azerbaijan Republic, when his helicopter crashed upon landing in northern Iran’s Varzaqan region on Sunday evening local time, according to state news agency IRNA.

East Azerbaijan’s governor, Malik Rahmati, and Raisi’s security detail were also in the helicopter.

The president’s convoy included three helicopters, two of which landed safely, according to Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency. 

Communication with Raisi’s chopper was cut off about half an hour into the flight, Iran’s Vice President for Executive Affairs Mohsen Mansouri said. Raisi was travelling to Tabriz city to launch an oil project.

Inclement weather conditions and impassibility of the area had hampered search and rescue operations, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps’ chief Pirhossein Koulivand, reportedly said.

Turkey and Russia had sent aircraft to help with the search operations.

Raisi, 63, a hardline, conservative politician was elected president in 2021 after failing to get into the office in 2017.

An established political heavyweight, he was seen as a contender to succeed supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei. As president, he cracked down on dissent at home.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates

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