Tragedy in Iran – President, Foreign Minister Found Dead following Helicopter Crash

Top Iranian officials were found dead following a helicopter crash in East Azarbaijan province. (Design: Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

After locating the helicopter on Monday morning, Iran’s Red Crescent Society (IRCS) issued a preliminary statement noting that there was “no sign of life” found near the wreckage locations.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian have tragically died in a helicopter crash in the northwestern province of East Azarbaijan, Iranian media reported.

The helicopter, carrying President Raisi and his delegation, crashed on Sunday in the Dizmar forest, located between the cities of Varzaqan and Jolfa, in the East Azarbaijan Province.

The crash claimed the lives of Reisi, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, East Azarbaijan Governor Malek Rahmati, the Friday Prayers leader of Tabriz, Seyyed Mohammad Ali Al-e Hashem, and a member of the president’s bodyguard team, Mehdi Mousavi. 

The helicopter’s pilot, co-pilot, and crew were also on board.

After locating the helicopter on Monday morning, Iran’s Red Crescent Society (IRCS) issued a preliminary statement noting that there was “no sign of life” found near the wreckage locations, according to the Lebanese news network Al-Mayadeen.

This announcement comes over 16 hours after the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps reported they had lost contact with the helicopter carrying the officials. 

At least 73 rapid response and rescue teams from the provinces of East Azarbaijan, Tehran, Alborz, Ardabil, Zanjan, and West Azarbaijan were involved in the search and rescue operations led by the IRCS.

Additionally, countries such as Azerbaijan, Turkiye, and Russia participated in the search and rescue efforts in the province.

According to Iranian state media, the President’s helicopter crashed against a mountaintop in the Varzaqan region on Sunday while returning from a ceremony to inaugurate a dam on the Aras River alongside Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev.

Officials Onboard

President Raisi’s helicopter, which was said to have made an emergency landing in the Julfa region, northwest of the Iranian capital Tehran, carried high-caliber names who assume the highest ranks in Iranian decision-making circles.

President Raisi

Foremost among these names is Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who took office in 2021. 

Previously he served as a member of the Assembly of Experts in 2007.

In 2014, he became Iran’s prosecutor general.

In 2019, he became the head of judiciary.

Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian

Also on board was Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

He is a long-standing Iranian diplomat who held several positions in the Foreign Ministry, including Director General for Gulf and Middle Eastern affairs in 2010.

Abdollahian also assumed the position of deputy foreign minister in charge of Arab and African affairs in 2011.

In 2021 he was appointed as the foreign minister under President Raisi.

Imam al-Hashim

Among the names on board the helicopter was Mohammad Ali al-Hashim, an imam in Tabriz and Iran’s supreme leader’s representative in East Azerbaijan province.

Al-Hashim is considered a provincial deputy in the Assembly of Experts and is a member of the provincial chamber of the Expediency Council.

Governor Rahmati 

Malik Rahmati was part of the president’s team and is the governor of East Azerbaijan.

‘Without Disruption’

In response to the announcement of the deaths of Raisi and his team, the cabinet held an emergency session led by Vice President Mohammad Mokhber, Press TV reported.

The Iranian government has reportedly assured that it will continue to operate ‘without disruption.’

In a statement, the cabinet extended condolences to the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and the Iranian nation, mourning the loss of President Raisi and his companions.

The government reassured the “loyal, appreciative, and beloved” Iranian nation that President Raisi’s mission will persist, and the administration of the country will proceed without any disruptions.

Ayatollah Khamenei also addressed the nation on Sunday, urging them not to be worried or anxious.

“Everyone should pray for the health of these people who are serving the Iranian nation,” Khamenei wrote on X, adding: “The nation doesn’t need to be worried or anxious as the administration of the country will not be disrupted at all.”

Axis of Resistance

Mohammad Ali Al-Houthi, the Head of the Revolutionary Committee in Yemen, expressed the condolences of the Yemeni Ansarallah group on Monday. 

“Our deepest condolences to the Iranian people, and to the Iranian leadership, and to the president’s family and the accompanying delegation on the martyrdom of President Raisi and the accompanying delegation, and we ask Allah to grant their families patience and comfort,” al-Houthi said. 

“The Iranian people will remain loyal to leaders loyal to them,” he added.

The Palestinian Popular Resistance Committee also expressed great “sadness and sorrow” in a statement.

“With great sadness and sorrow, we mourn the tragic passing of the esteemed Iranian President, Mr. Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Dr. Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, and their accompanying delegation who ascended in the unfortunate plane crash,” the statement read. 

“We extend our heartfelt condolences to His Eminence, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and to the grieving Iranian people, hoping that Allah, the Almighty, will bring comfort to their hearts in this great loss,” the statement continued.

Who Were the Top Iranian Officials on Board the President’s Helicopter

“We, along with our resistant people, express our solidarity with our brothers in the Islamic Republic of Iran—its leadership, people, and government. We share their sorrow and pain in this immense tragedy.”

The Committee also acknowledged the immense contribution made by the Iranian officials to the Palestinian cause.

“Palestine, its people, and its resistance will never forget the contributions made by the two resistant martyrs, President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Dr. Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, in support of the Palestinian cause and the advocacy for our people in all forums,” it said.

“We have complete confidence in the great Iranian people and their wise leadership to overcome this difficult ordeal,” the statement continued.

“Iran will always remain a steadfast supporter for all the oppressed individuals of the nation and the world in confronting the forces of arrogance, injustice, and tyranny globally.”

(PC, PRESS TV, Al-Mayadeen)

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