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Iranian President, 8 Others Confirmed Dead After Sunday Foggy Weather Crash Landing

Iranian Leaders

Iranian state media said President Ebrahim Raisi died on Monday after his helicopter crashed in a mountainous region of the country.

Rescue teams had been scouring the area since Sunday afternoon after a helicopter carrying Raisi, the foreign minister and other officials had gone missing.

Early Monday, relief workers located the missing helicopter, with state TV saying the president had died.

“The servant of Iranian nation, Ayatollah Ebrahim Raisi has achieved the highest level of martyrdom whilst serving the people,” state television said Monday, with Mehr news agency also saying he was dead. State television broadcast photos of Raisi, with the voice of a man reciting the Koran playing in the background.

Iran’s vice president for executive affairs Mohsen Mansouri posted on X a Koranic verse used to express condolences.

Fears had been growing for the 63-year-old ultraconservative after contact was lost with the helicopter carrying him as well as Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and others in East Azerbaijan province on Sunday.

A total of nine people were on board the aircraft, according to Tasnim news agency.

Iran’s Red Crescent chief Pirhossein Koolivand said rescue teams headed towards the site of the crash after locating the aircraft.

“The helicopter has been found. Now, we are moving toward the helicopter,” said Koolivand. “We are seeing the helicopter. The situation is not good.”

“Upon finding the helicopter, there was no sign of the helicopter passengers being alive as of yet,” state TV reported about 15 hours after the aircraft went missing.

Iranian media including Fars news agency shared drone images of what appeared to be the wreckage of the helicopter.

State TV first reported Sunday afternoon that “an accident happened to the helicopter carrying the president” in the Jolfa region of East Azerbaijan province.

Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi said the helicopter “made a hard landing” in bad weather.

He urged people to get their information “only from state television”, and not listen to foreign media channels Iran deems hostile to the Islamic republic.

Raisi’s convoy had included three helicopters, and the other two had “reached their destination safely”, said the Tasnim news agency.

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged Iranians to “not worry” about the leadership of the Islamic republic, saying “there will be no disruption in the country’s work”.

Expressions of concern and offers of help came from abroad, including Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Russia, China and Turkey, as well as from the European Union which activated its rapid response mapping service to aid in the search effort.

Iran’s cabinet held an emergency meeting led by Vice President Mohammad Mokhber after the incident, the IRNA news agency reported.

Army, Revolutionary Guard and police officers were involved in the search, authorities said, as TV stations showed pictures of Red Crescent teams walking up a hill in the mist, while rows of emergency response vehicles waited.

Raisi had visited the northwestern province to inaugurate a dam project together with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, on their common border.

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