Gist: Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi Dies in Helicopter Crash on May 19

In a tragic incident, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was killed in a helicopter crash on May 19, 2024.

The crash occurred in the mountainous northwest of Iran, as the helicopter was returning from a dam inauguration ceremony on the border with Azerbaijan.

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President Ebrahim Raisi Dies in Helicopter Crash on May 19

The crash also claimed the lives of Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and six other officials who were on board the helicopter.

The helicopter, which was also carrying other government officials, went down near the village of Uzi in northwest Iran, according to reports.

The cause of the crash was unclear, but Iranian officials said fog and bad weather in the area slowed rescue efforts.

The news of Raisi’s death was confirmed by state media. Raisi, 63, was a hard-line president who had been in office since August 2021.

He was seen as a protégé of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and had a controversial past, including his involvement in the mass execution of prisoners in 1988.

Raisi’s tenure saw a crackdown on mass protests after 22-year-old Mahsa Amini was killed; the enforcement of a strict women’s dress code; increased enrichment of uranium after the U.S. withdrew from a landmark nuclear deal; and increased military tensions with Israel and the West as the regime supported Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthi rebels in Yemen, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The crash and Raisi’s death have sent shockwaves through Iran and the international community.

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The U.S. State Department issued a statement offering condolences to the Iranian government over the incident, though a spokesperson said the U.S. approach to Iran is not swayed by the deaths of Raisi and Amir-Abdollahian.

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The funeral rites for Raisi and his entourage will begin tomorrow in Tabriz at 9.30 am local time. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has announced five days of mourning.

Mohammad Mokhber has been appointed as acting president, while Ali Bagheri Kani, who was deputy foreign minister, has been named foreign minister. The election date has been set for 28 June.

News In Brief

Iran’s president, as of the last information available, is Ebrahim Raisi. He was elected in 2021 and took office on August 5, 2021. However, there have been reports of a helicopter crash involving President Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, which occurred on May 20, 2024.

The crash resulted in the death of both President Raisi and the Foreign Minister, as confirmed by Iranian media. Following the incident, Iran’s Constitution mandates that the First Vice President, in this case, Mohammad Mokhber, assumes the powers and functions of the president with the approval of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

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