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Iran’s President, Ebrahim Raisi, has been killed in a helicopter crash in a mountainous area of north-western Iran, the country’s state media has said.

He was travelling with Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian who also died after the aircraft came down on Sunday.

It was initially reported that the helicopter carrying the men and their entourage had made a rough landing in foggy conditions.

Mr Raisi, 63, was tipped as a potential successor to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Latest updates: Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi killed in helicopter crash
19 May 2024
The helicopter came down in a remote area of north-western Iran on the way back from Azerbaijan where Mr Raisi had been meeting President Ilham Aliyev.

According to local media he had been in the area to open the Qiz Qalasi and Khodaafarin dams.

On Monday, the Iranian Red Crescent confirmed the bodies of the president and others who died in the crash had been recovered and search operations had ended.

“We are in the process of transferring the bodies of the martyrs to Tabriz [in Iran’s north-west],” the organisation’s chief said on state TV.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has expressed his condolences following the death of President Ebrahim Raisi.

He has appointed Vice-President Mohammad Mokhber to assume interim duties after the death of the president, and said Mr Mokhber would work with the heads of Iran’s legislature and judiciary to prepare for a presidential election within 50 days.

Iran’s cabinet has appointed deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani as acting foreign minister, following the death of Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, according to Reuters news agency.

Ahead of the confirmation of the deaths, vigils had taken place in the capital, Tehran, with pictures showing people kneeling in prayer.

Map showing crash location in Iran
Mr Raisi, 63, was a hard-line cleric close to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and was considered to be a potential successor to the 85-year-old.

His election as president in 2021 consolidated the control of conservatives over every part of the Islamic Republic.

In a statement following his death, the Iranian government said it would continue to operate “without disruption”.

A number of countries have expressed their condolences following President Raisi’s death.

In Pakistan, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif announced a national day of mourning and described the Mr Raisi and Mr Amir-Abdollahian as “good friends of Iran”.

Writing on social media, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “deeply saddened and shocked” by the deaths.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his government was “in full contact and co-ordination with the Iranian authorities” and was ready to “provide any necessary support”.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed his condolences and said the president and foreign minister were “true, reliable friends of our country”, while China’s President Xi Jinping said Mr Raisi had contributed to Iran’s security and stability.

The EU on Monday expressed its “sincere condolences” and European Council President Charles Michel said “our thoughts go to the families”.

Hamas praised Mr Raisi’s support of the Palestinian group, while the Teheran- backed Hezbollah movement in Lebanon said it was mourning the death of its protector.

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