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Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi killed in helicopter crash

In World
May 20, 2024

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.

It 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.

Ahead of state media confirming 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”.

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