Iranian President Dies in Helicopter Crash

( – Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was a cleric and an accomplished attorney who was appointed as the head of the judiciary in 2019. Two years later, he became the country’s president. On May 19, reports came out saying there was a helicopter crash in Iran with Raisi on board, but the fog was too thick to reach the crash site. The next day, the president of Iran was confirmed dead.

In addition to Raisi, Iran Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, and five others were on board. There were no survivors. The president was reportedly traveling to his country’s border with the other officials to inaugurate a dam when the chopper went down in the Dizmar forest. That forest is located in the East Azerbaijan province, north of Tabriz — the province’s capital. Former Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tried to blame the United States for the crash, as sanctions against Iran allegedly prevented proper flight safety checks and parts.

Despite the fog, dozens of teams were deployed after the crash to try to find the wreckage and any survivors. Because of the intense weather conditions, all of the searches had to happen on the ground. The next morning, drones released in the area captured a fire near where authorities believed the helicopter went down—they were right. The coordinates were from the side of a mountain range.

After Raisi’s death was announced, Supreme Leader Khamenei confirmed that First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber would serve as interim president. Khamenei offered his condolences to the people of Iran and designated the next five days to be dedicated to mourning the loss. Iranian law dictates that a new election must happen within 50 days.

Russia, Iraq, and Qatar offered help and made statements about Raisi’s death. Azerbaijani President Aliyev also offered support, and Saudi Arabia said it stands by the country under “these difficult circumstances.”

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