Helicopter Carrying Iran’s President Raisi Crashes; Search and Rescue Operation Underway

Helicopter Carrying Iran’s President Raisi Crashes; Search and Rescue Operation Underway

by Reuters News Service
219 views

A helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian crashed on Sunday while navigating mountainous terrain in heavy fog, according to an Iranian official. The crash occurred during their return from a visit to the border with Azerbaijan in Iran’s northwest. Rescuers were struggling to reach the crash site amid adverse weather conditions, which have complicated the search efforts.

The official, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, expressed concern over the situation, indicating that Raisi and Amirabdollahian’s lives were at risk. Conflicting reports emerged about the status of the helicopter and its occupants. While state TV cited an official saying that contact had been made with at least one passenger and one crew member, Iran’s Red Crescent denied reports that the helicopter had been found.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei sought to reassure the public, stating that state affairs would continue uninterrupted. Meanwhile, the chief of staff of Iran’s army ordered all available resources, including those of the elite Revolutionary Guard, to be mobilized for the search and rescue operations.

A local reporter informed state TV that the search efforts were hampered by darkness and rain, which had created muddy conditions in the mountainous area, making the search difficult. The national broadcaster interrupted its regular programming to show prayers being held for Raisi across the country and provided live coverage of the rescue teams.

Neighbouring countries expressed concern and offered assistance. The White House confirmed that U.S. President Joe Biden had been briefed on the incident, and the European Union offered emergency satellite mapping technology to aid the search efforts. Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, who had seen Raisi earlier in the day, also offered assistance in the rescue.

The crash has come at a turbulent time for Iran, which is facing internal dissent over political, social, and economic issues, as well as international pressure regarding its nuclear program and military ties with Russia amid the war in Ukraine. Since the conflict between Israel and Hamas escalated on October 7, tensions involving Iran-aligned groups have flared throughout the Middle East.

President Raisi, a 63-year-old hardliner, was elected in 2021 and is considered a potential successor to the 85-year-old Supreme Leader Khamenei. Raisi has been noted for tightening morality laws, overseeing a crackdown on anti-government protests, and taking a tough stance in nuclear negotiations with global powers. His administration’s efforts have faced significant challenges, including widespread protests and economic difficulties exacerbated by Western sanctions.

Raisi had been at the Azerbaijani border to inaugurate the Qiz-Qalasi Dam, a joint project, before the crash.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

Chijos News is an independent online publication that provides readers with the latest breaking Nigerian news, world news, entertainment, sports, business, and many more.

@2024 – Chijosnews.com. All Rights Reserved.

-
00:00
00:00
Update Required Flash plugin
-
00:00
00:00