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Iranian President Raisi, Foreign Minister Killed in Helicopter Crash

© AFP 2023 ADEM ALTANIran's President Ebrahim Raisi attends a joint press conference with Turkish president in Ankara, on January 24, 2024.
Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi attends a joint press conference with Turkish president in Ankara, on January 24, 2024.  - Sputnik India, 1920, 20.05.2024
According to Iran's Constitution, the First Vice-President takes over office if the President dies in office. Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will have to confirm the succession. Election for the next President should be held in the next 50 days.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian have been killed in a helicopter crash in the East Azerbaijan province, according to a government statement on Monday morning.
"President Raisi, along with Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, East Azerbaijan Governor Malek Rahmati, East Azerbaijan Imam of Friday Prayer, Mohammad Ali Ale-Hashem, and several other passengers, have been martyred in a helicopter crash in northwest of Iran," Iranian Ambassador to India, Iraj Elahi, also confirmed on social media on Monday.
The ill-fated chopper was part of a three-helicopter convoy returning from Iran's East Azerbaijan province on Sunday. Raisi and Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijan's President, jointly inaugurated the Qiz Qalasi Dam in the border province.
IRNA reported that the presidential helicopter, a Bell 212 model, went missing while passing through foggy weather conditions en route Tabriz City. The other two helicopters carrying other high-profile delegates landed safely last evening itself.
The search-and-rescue operations for Raisi's helicopter began on Sunday evening, lasting for over 12 hours before the crash site was located. Around 73 rescue teams equipped with advanced equipment were involved in rescue operations.

Condolences Pour in From Across the World

Meanwhile, foreign governments have started to offer their condolences to the Iranian government and people following the chopper crash.
"Deeply saddened and shocked by the tragic demise of Dr Seyed Ebrahim Raisi, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran. His contribution to strengthening India-Iran bilateral relationship will always be remembered. My heartfelt condolences to his family and the people of Iran. India stands with Iran in this time of sorrow," Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote on X.
Indian External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar said that he was "deeply shocked" to hear the news of the deaths of President Raisi and Amirabdollahian.
"I remember many meetings with them, the last time in January 2024. We offer our condolences to them. We are with the Iranian people in this sad incident," Jaishankar said.
Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also extended his "deepest condolences" to the Iranian government.
"The great Iranian nation will overcome this tragedy with customary courage," Sharif stated.
On Sunday evening, the governments of Russia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Armenia and Azerbaijan also expressed concern over the fate of the chopper.
Ebrahim Raisi gives a news conference after voting in the presidential election, at a polling station in the capital Tehran, on June 18, 2021. - Raisi on June 19 declared the winner of a presidential election, a widely anticipated result after many political heavyweights were barred from running. - Sputnik India, 1920, 03.05.2023
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