Iran President Ebrahim Raisi’s Chopper Wreckage Found: ‘No Sign Of Life’

New Delhi: There is little hope of anyone being alive in the wreckage of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his foreign minister, found by search teams, an Iranian official said on Monday.

Powered by Trukish drones, rescue teams fought blizzards and difficult terrain through the night to reach the wreckage in East Azerbaijan province in the early hours of Monday. Drone footage of the wreckage taken by the Red Crescent and carried on state media showed the crash site on a steep, wooded hillside, with little remaining of the helicopter beyond a blue and white tail.

President Raisi’s helicopter was completely burned in the crash … unfortunately, all passengers are feared dead,” the official told Reuters.  The head of Iran’s Red Crescent, Pirhossein Kolivand, told state TV that they saw the wreckage and “the situation does not look good,”  “With the discovery of the crash site, no signs of life have been detected among the helicopter’s passengers.”

Raisi, 63, was elected president in 2021, and since taking office has ordered a tightening of morality laws, overseen a bloody crackdown on anti-government protests and pushed hard in nuclear talks with world powers. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who holds ultimate power with a final say on foreign policy and Iran’s nuclear programme, had earlier sought to reassure Iranians, saying there would be no disruption to state affairs.

A Turkish drone identified a source of heat suspected to be the helicopter’s wreckage early on Monday and had shared the coordinates of the possible crash site with Iranian authorities, Anadolu news agency said on X. State news agency IRNA said Raisi was flying in a U.S.-made Bell 212 helicopter. The chief of staff of Iran’s army ordered all resources of the army and the elite Revolutionary Guards to be put to use in search and rescue operations.

Several countries expressed concern and offered assistance in any rescue. The White House said U.S. President Joe Biden had been briefed on reports about the crash. China said it was deeply concerned. The European Union offered emergency satellite mapping technology.

The crash comes at a time of growing dissent within Iran over an array of political, social and economic crises. Iran’s clerical rulers face international pressure over Tehran’s disputed nuclear programme and its deepening military ties with Russia during the war in Ukraine. Since Iran’s ally Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, provoking Israel’s assault on Gaza, conflagrations involving Iran-aligned groups have erupted throughout the Middle East.



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