Helicopter Carrying Iranian President Crashes In Mountains

Dubai: A helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and the country’s Foreign Minister crashed on Sunday as it was crossing mountain terrain amid heavy fog on way back from a visit to the Azerbaijan border, Reuters reported quoting an Iranian official.

The lives of Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian were “at risk” following the crash, the official said.

Bad weather is making rescue efforts difficult, state news agency IRNA reported.

Several senior ministers have rushed to the accident site, while the Interior Minister has convened a crisis management meeting in Tabriz.

Harsh weather and darkness notwithstanding, rescue teams are continuing their search 5-6 hours after the mishap.

“We are still hopeful but information coming from the crash site is very concerning,” an official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

State TV stopped all its regular programmes to show prayers being held for Raisi across the country as live coverage of rescue teams searching the mountainous area in heavy fog was shown in a corner of the screen.

The 63-year-old Raisi was elected President in 2021. He ordered a tightening of morality laws, oversaw a bloody crackdown on anti-government protests and pushed hard in nuclear talks with world powers.

Raisi is considered by many as a strong contender to succeed his 85-year-old mentor, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has endorsed the President’s policies.

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