Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi Dies in Helicopter Crash

Ebrahim Raisi

Dear Commons Community,

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi died yesterday in a helicopter accident after the craft crashed in the mountains. He was 63. The country’s foreign minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian, a provincial governor and other officials were also on board during the crash and are presumed dead. The news shocked Iran and the world as officials said a massive search and rescue operation was underway. Raisi had been traveling with an entourage to the country’s border with Azerbaijan, where he jointly inaugurated a new dam with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. As reported by The Huffington Post and other media.

The helicopter crashed near the border around 1 p.m. local time, and officials said earlier there was bad weather and heavy fog in the area. An official cause of the accident has not yet been determined. Rescue teams had searched through dense forest for more than 12 hours, at times calling off the search due to the fierce weather.

Iran’s first vice president, Mohammad Mokhber, is expected to assume the presidency. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the country’s operation “will carry on smoothly and orderly” during the crisis.“There will be no disruption in the country’s operation,” the supreme leader said in an address shortly after the crash was reported.

Raisi had widely been seen as a potential successor to the ayatollah. He previously led the country’s judiciary and was known as a hard-line leader. Under his tenure, Iran began enriching uranium at near-weapon-grade levels, and the country has supported Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Iran has also seen years of large-scale protests against the government and ruling theocracy.

Tensions between Israel and Iran have also flared in recent months amid the ongoing conflict with Hamas. Iran launched its first direct attack on Israel last month in retaliation for the killing of an Iranian military leader, sending 300 drones and missiles towards the country, most of which were shot down.

New elections must be organized within 50 days, although those plans could be complicated with the ongoing war.


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