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Iran President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Die in Helicopter Crash

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian died in a helicopter crash in a mountainous region of East Azerbaijan province, state media reported on Monday. The helicopter, carrying Raisi, the foreign minister, and seven other officials, went missing on Sunday afternoon.

Rescue teams located the wreckage early Monday. State television confirmed Raisi’s death, referring to him as a “martyr” in service of the nation. Photos of Raisi were broadcast with Koranic recitations in the background.

Raisi, a 63-year-old ultraconservative, had been president since 2021. He was traveling to inaugurate a dam project with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev. The crash site was discovered by Iran’s Red Crescent teams, who confirmed no signs of survivors.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reassured the nation about the continuity of leadership, urging people to rely on state media for information. An emergency cabinet meeting was convened by Vice President Mohammad Mokhber following the incident.

Foreign countries, including Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Russia, China, and Turkey, expressed their condolences and offered assistance. The European Union activated its rapid response mapping service to aid in the search effort.

Raisi’s tenure was marked by economic challenges due to US sanctions and significant regional tensions. His death leaves a notable vacancy in Iran’s political landscape, with implications for the country’s future direction.

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