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Iranian President killed in helicopter crash

Posted May. 21, 2024 08:03,   

Updated May. 21, 2024 08:03


President Ebrahim Raisi, who held the second strongest power in Iran and was a hardliner against the United States, was killed in a helicopter crash in the mountains of the northwestern province of East Azerbaijan on Sunday. A conservative Islamic cleric who came to power in August 2021, President Raisi had been considered a likely successor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, 85, in the theocratic nation of Iran. As such, his death will have significant ramifications for the Middle East, which is at war, and for the United States, which is trying to restore the nuclear deal with Iran.

“President Raisi was killed in a helicopter crash,” Vice President Mohammad Mokhber said on social media X (formerly Twitter) on Monday. All eight other passengers on board, including Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, were also killed. The Iranian Red Crescent Society (Islamic Red Cross) responded to the rescue and said the helicopter crashed in a town called Tabil, about 100 kilometers from Tabriz, the capital of East Azerbaijan Province. Raisi and his entourage are believed to have been flying over rugged mountainous terrain in the aging helicopter when it encountered bad weather, including heavy rain and fog.

“During his three years in power, Raisi stepped up attacks on the West through proxy forces, making Iran a more overt U.S. adversary,” Foreign Policy said. “His sudden death spells uncertainty in and around the Middle East.”

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