President of IRAN: Confirmed dead in Helicopter crash.

World Events
The death of the 63-year-old Iranian president opens a period of political uncertainty in Iran

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his Foreign Minister died in a helicopter crash in northwest Iran, the government announced 

Supreme Guide Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Monday appointed First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber as interim president and announced five days of mourning in the country.

The death of the 63-year-old Iranian president opens a period of political uncertainty in Iran, a heavyweight in the Middle East, at a time when the region is shaken by the war in the Gaza Strip between Israel and Hamas, an ally. of the Islamic Republic.

Elected in 2021, Raisi was considered one of the favorites to succeed Khamenei, 85 years old.

“The hard-working and tireless president of the Iranian people … has sacrificed his life for the nation,” the government said.

“The great spirit of the popular and revolutionary president of Iran has joined the supreme kingdom,” indicated the official Irna agency.

Press agencies and information sites announced his death in the morning after the discovery of the wreckage of the helicopter.

The helicopter in which Raisi was traveling disappeared on Sunday afternoon while flying over a mountainous region of Iran in difficult weather conditions, with rain and dense fog.

International Concern

The hope of finding the president and the other passengers alive faded throughout Sunday night.

In addition to the president, the plane also included Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, 60, as well as the governor of East Azerbaijan province, the region’s main imam, the president’s security chief and three crew members.

The lifeguards recovered the bodies of the passengers this Monday morning. “We are moving the bodies of the martyrs to Tabriz,” a large city in the northwest, the Red Crescent announced.

The situation was closely followed by the international community, especially the United States, Russia, China and neighboring countries.

Indian Prime Minister Nerendra Modi said Monday he was “deeply saddened and shocked by the tragic death” of the Iranian president.

Other leaders also sent messages of condolences, such as the Iraqi Prime Minister, Mohamed Shia al Sudani.

In Russia, President Vladimir Putin paid tribute to a “notable politician” and “true friend of Russia” in a message of condolences, and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad proclaimed his “solidarity” with Tehran, which supports him in the civil war in his country.

For his part, Chinese President Xi Jinping called his death a “great loss for the Iranian people.”

‘No disturbance’

Raisi, who had the title of ayatollah, has presided over the Islamic Republic since 2021.

Considered an ultra-conservative, he was elected on June 18 of that year in the first round of elections marked by a record abstention for presidential elections and the absence of a significant opposition.

Always dressed in a turban and a long black religious coat, Raisi succeeded the moderate Hassan Rohani.

The late president had the support of the country’s main authority, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who on Sunday sent a message of calm to the population and assured that the event was not going to cause “any disturbance” in the administration of the nation.

The supreme leader appointed the vice president, Mohammad Mokhber, as interim president “in accordance with article 131 of the Constitution,” pending the holding of presidential elections “within a maximum period of 50 days.”

Last pro-Palestinian message

Raisi had traveled to the province of East Azerbaijan on Sunday to inaugurate, together with the Azerbaijani president, Ilham Aliyev, a dam on the border between the two countries.

In their joint press conference, Raisi again expressed his support for Hamas against Israel. “We think that Palestine is the first question of the Muslim world,” he declared.

In a message of condolences, the Palestinian Islamist movement thanked the “support for the Palestinian resistance.”

The pro-Iranian Lebanese Hezbollah also paid tribute to Raisi as “protector of resistance movements.”

Iran launched an unprecedented attack on April 13 against Israel, with 350 drones and missiles, most of which were intercepted with the help of the United States and other allied countries.

Raisi emerged stronger from the legislative elections held in March, the first elections organized after the protests that shook Iran at the end of 2022 following the death of Mahsa Amini, a young Kurdish woman arrested for not respecting the country’s dress code.

Born in November 1960, Raisi spent the bulk of his career in the judicial system. Before becoming president, he was the attorney general of Tehran and the country’s attorney general.

The late president was on the US blacklist of Iranian officials sanctioned by Washington for “complicity in serious human rights violations”, accusations rejected by Tehran.

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