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Iran’s president, top officials killed in major crash

Iran's flag (Dreamstime/TNS)
May 20, 2024

Iranian officials confirmed on Monday that President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, and multiple other Iranian officials were killed in a helicopter crash.

According to Fox News, Iranian State TV reported early Monday morning that there was “no sign of life” at the site of the helicopter crash, which was found in the mountains near the Azerbaijan border following a ceremony celebrating the opening of a dam on the border between Iran and Azerbaijan. Iranian media reported that the helicopter, which was transporting 63-year-old Raisi, 60-year-old Abdollahian, and several other Iranian officials, had made a “hard landing” on Sunday.

According to Reuters, the remains of the helicopter were discovered early Monday morning following an overnight search in poor weather conditions. While Iranian officials have not yet revealed the cause behind Sunday’s crash, officials have suggested that poor weather conditions contributed to the crash.

“The esteemed president and company were on their way back aboard some helicopters and one of the helicopters was forced to make a hard landing due to the bad weather and fog,” Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi said.

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Reuters reported that Pirhossein Kolivand, who is the head of Iran’s Red Crescent, told state media, “With the discovery of the crash site, no signs of life have been detected among the helicopter’s passengers.”

A total of nine individuals were killed in Sunday’s helicopter crash, according to CNN. In addition to Raisi and Amir-Abdollahian, the governor of the East Azerbaijan Province, the president’s head of security, a bodyguard, an imam, and three crew members were killed.

The Islamic Republic News Agency confirmed Monday that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei announced a public mourning period and revealed that First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber will serve as interim president until a new president is elected, according to Reuters.

“I announce five days of public mourning and offer my condolences to the dear people of Iran,” Khamenei stated.

This was a breaking news story. The details were periodically updated as more information became available.