Monday 20 May 2024


Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian were among the nine people who died when their helicopter crashed in the country's mountainous north-west during bad weather, state media reported on Monday.

The Iranian Cabinet convened a second emergency meeting in less than 24 hours following the confirmation of the deaths, Iranian media also reported.

Vice President Mohammad Mokhber had already chaired a meeting on Sunday evening after the helicopter went missing over East Azerbaijan Province. All nine people on board died.

According to protocol, with Raisi's death, Mokhber should become interim president, pending approval from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. New elections will then have to be held within 50 days.

On Monday morning, state news agency IRNA published images taken by a drone showing debris from a charred aircraft on a steep slope in the middle of the forest.

Raisi and Amirabdollahian were travelling back from a meeting with the president of neighbouring Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, when their helicopter disappeared from radar in dense fog on Sunday afternoon. The Iranians helped to inaugurate a dam in Azerbaijan that was jointly built by the sides.

The entourage then made its way back to Iran in a total of three helicopters. But while the other two helicopters arrived safely, the president's never returned.


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