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Iran’s President, Foreign Minister Die In Helicopter Crash

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Iran’s President, Foreign Minister Die In Helicopter Crash

The helicopter crashed weeks after Iran launched a drone-and-missile attack on Israel

Tehran, Iran- Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, the country’s foreign minister and others have been found dead at the site of a helicopter crash after an hourslong search through a foggy, mountainous region of the country’s northwest, state media reported.

State TV gave no immediate cause for the crash in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province.

The helicopter was carrying the Iranian president, as well as the country’s foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and 7 other senior officials, when it crashed in the mountainous northwest rea of Iran.

Iran was thrown into uncertainty on Sunday as search and rescue teams scoured a fog-shrouded mountain area after the helicopter went missing.

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Fears grew for the 63-year-old ultraconservative after contact was lost with the aircraft. The supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had urged Iranians to “not worry” about the leadership of the Islamic republic, saying “there will be no disruption in the country’s work”.

Iran’s Cabinet held an emergency meeting as state media announced the death of President Ebrahim Raisi.

The Cabinet offered its condolences, saying in a statement that he made the ultimate sacrifice in serving his country, according to a report by the state-run IRNA news agency. The report was accompanied by a photo of Raisi’s chair draped in black, his photo on the desk.

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“We assure our loyal and appreciative and beloved nation that the path of service will continue with the tireless spirit of Ayatollah Raisi, the hero and the servant of the nation and the faithful friend of the leadership,” the Cabinet said in a statement carried by IRNA.

More than 60 rescue teams using search dogs and drones were sent to the mountainous protected forest area of Dizmar near the town of Varzaghan. The crash site was later discovered and no survivor was found there.

The helicopter crashed weeks after Iran launched a drone-and-missile attack on Israel in response to a deadly strike on its diplomatic compound in Damascus.

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Hardliner Raisi became president in a historically uncompetitive election in 2021. Previously as the chief justice, he oversaw a period of intensified repression of dissent in a nation convulsed by youth-led protests against clerical rule.

Raisi was the second-most powerful person in the Islamic Republic’s political structure after its Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khomeini. The Iranian Constitution mandates that, in the case of the president’s death, the first vice president assumes office with the approval of the Supreme Leader.

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