An Iranian official said that Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi and his foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian carrying helicopter crashed on Sunday. The helicopter was flying over mountains in heavy fog when it crashed. The Iranian media reported that rescuers were heading to the crash site.

Incident Details

Iran’s President Raisi had been opening a dam on the Aras River with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev. Then, the officials were returning from the Azerbaijan border, about 375 miles from Tehran.  At first, reports said the crash happened near Jolfa, but later, Iran officers said it was near the village of Uzi. However, the details are still not clear.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdullahian, East Azerbaijan Governor Malik Rahmati and President Raisi’s security team were also traveling in the helicopter. State TV IRIB reported that the helicopter belonged to the Iranian Red Crescent. Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi mentioned that it was part of a larger convoy.  

Rescue Efforts

State media indicated that Red Crescent rescuers were moving through thick fog with very low visibility. They believe the helicopter crashed in a rural forest.

The media reported that at least 40 rescue teams, including drones and search dogs, have been sent to the area. However, bad weather and heavy fog have made it difficult for them to reach the crash site. Also, eight ambulances have been sent to the crash site.

Vahidi, speaking on state media, mentioned, “Various rescue groups are moving towards the site, but due to the fog and bad weather, it may take time to reach the area.” 

Current Status

With no news of Raisi’s condition, many worried Iranians are beginning to pray. State media indicated dozens of people were arriving in the Shia Muslim holy city of Qom. Also, at the moment, Raisi’s Instagram account also has posted messages asking people to pray for him.

Below are the most recent updates

  • State media reported that the government scrapped a scheduled cabinet session and organized an urgent gathering with the nation’s crisis management committee.

According to Iran’s law, if the president passes away, authority transfers to the first vice president, and an election must be held within six months. The current first vice president is Mohammad Mokhber, a conservative politician.

Iran’s President Background Information

Ebrahim Raisi, 63, became president in 2021. Since then, he has tightened morality laws, cracked down on anti-government protests, and pushed for progress in nuclear talks with world powers. 

Many see Raisi as a likely successor to his mentor, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who supports Raisi’s fundamental policies. However, In Iran, the supreme leader, not the president, makes the final decisions on significant policies. The political system is divided between the clerical establishment and the government.

International Reactions

Aliyev stated on X post that “Azerbaijan stands ready to offer any assistance needed” and “We were profoundly troubled by the news of a helicopter carrying the top delegation crash-landing in Iran.”

Also, a senior administration official, speaking anonymously because they weren’t authorized to comment publicly, stated that aides about the Iran crash briefed President Biden. 

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