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Iran President Raeisi killed in helocopter crash

Alameen Templeton

Iran President Ebrahim Raisi has died in a helicopter crash alongside foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, state media are reporting

Officials are reporting there are no survivors at the crash site in East Azerbaijan and the same has been reported by the Iranian State News Agency IRINN.

Search operations started immediately after the news of the Iranian Presidential Helicopter Crash emerged and people across Iran started praying under urging from state media.

Raisi was in the helicopter, along with his Foreign Minister and East Azarbaijan Governor Malek Rahmati among other dignitaries. They had inaugurated a new dam.

With support from several countries and the EU to locate the accident site, Iranian officials say extensive search operations are continuing in poor weather conditions The helicopter suffered a “hard landing”, state television reported.

Iranian state media said the crash occurred on Sunday near Jolfa in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province, in the north of the country.

Iran’s Supreme Leader  Ali Khamenei expressed concern over the situation in a meeting with families of Revolutionary Guard Corps personnel and urged the country to pray for Raisi and others.

He also urged Iranians not to worry and stressed that there would be “no disruption” in governance.

Raisi was returning from a visit to neighbouring Azerbaijan, where he had travelled to inaugurate a dam alongside the country’s President Ilham Aliyev.

State media said three helicopters were in the Iranian president’s convoy, and the two others made it back safely.

Energy Minister Ali Akbar Mehrabian and Housing and Transportation Minister Mehrdad Bazrpash were in the other helicopters that made it back safely.

Someone inside the presidential helicopter managed to make an emergency call, Tasnim News Agency said. That increased hopes that the incident can be concluded “without fatalities”.

It remains unclear exactly what caused the “hard landing”, or whether any others survived.

Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi said rescue teams were trying to reach the location of the crash, but it might take some time due to fog and bad weather conditions.

Vahidi confirmed that radio contact was made with the helicopter, but offered no further details.

IRNA said the president’s helicopter is believed to have crashed in the Dizmar Protected Area, a forested and mountainous zone.

The Iranian Red Crescent said it deployed more than 40 teams to the region, Serdar also reported.

Decades of sanctions have made it difficult for Iran to purchase new aircraft or helicopter parts. Many military aircraft Iran date back to before the country’s 1979 revolution.

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