Plane crash beheads Iran, President Raisi and Foreign Minister dead

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by Editorial Staff

Foreign Pages, 20 May 2024 – The prayers broadcast for hours yesterday by Tehran’s state television were not enough. At dawn today, Iranian Vice President Mohsen Mansouri confirmed that President Ebrahim Raisi died after his helicopter crashed into the ground in a mountainous region in the north-west of the Islamic Republic yesterday, around 1.30pm.

Throughout yesterday afternoon and into the night there was uncertain news after the helicopter carrying Raisi and other members of the Tehran establishment was lost while flying over the Dizmar forest near the Azerbaijan border.

Raisi was returning from a trip to the border with Azerbaijan, where he met President Ilham Aliyev and inaugurated a dam on the Aras River. For many hours yesterday, bad weather and thick fog made searches impossible.

Then, at first light, Red Crescent rescue teams reached the crash site and “found no signs that the helicopter’s occupants were alive.”
On board the aircraft, whose wreckage was identified thanks to a drone made available by the Turkish government, there were also the Foreign Minister of Tehran, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, the head of the Presidential Guard Mehdi Mousavi, the governor of the region of East Azerbaijan Malek Rahmati, the representative of the Iranian Supreme Leader in East Azerbaijan Mohammad Ali Ale-Hashem and various crew members.

Before the president’s death was confirmed, the country’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei had called on citizens to pray for Raisi and promised that the incident would not throw the country into chaos.

The Red Crescent informed that this morning the bodies of the victims of the plane crash will be transported to the city of Tabriz, the capital of eastern Azerbaijan.

Now First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber will temporarily hold the position of head of state for the next 50 days until new presidential elections are held by a special council. The council will be made up of the heads of the legislative and judicial powers, as well as the first vice president himself, and elections are expected to take place between June and July.

The late president Ebrahim Raisi, a representative of the most conservative circles of the Iranian political scene, won the elections of 18 June 2021 with 62% of the votes, on a day marked by a record rate of abstention and a high number of blank and null, the result of the discontent of an important part of society towards the ruling class of the Islamic Republic.

Raisi was born on 14 December 1960 in Mashhad, a holy Shiite city in north-eastern Iran, into a religious family. After his religious studies in Qom and his degree in Islamic law from the Motahari University of Tehran, Raisi worked for a long time as a prosecutor and public prosecutor until becoming the head of the country’s judiciary in 2019, protagonist of a systematic and ruthless repression of opposition movements, from left-wing forces to Kurdish organizations to the reform circles within the establishment themselves.

As president, Raisi oversaw the fight against the vast protest movement sparked by the killing, on 16 September 2022, of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini (guilty of not wearing the veil correctly) by some members of the Religious Police. There new wave of repression it caused thousands of arrests and numerous victims.

In these hours, condolences are arriving in Tehran from various heads of state and foreign ministers of Iran’s allied countries, from Venezuela to Russia to Belarus, as well as from political movements that have strong relations with the Islamic Republic, from the Yemeni Houthis to Lebanese Hezbollah to the Palestinian movement Hamas. The government of Pakistan has also declared a day of national mourning for the death of the Iranian president. Messages of condolence also reached the Iranian authorities from various Western countries.

The death of the Iranian president occurred in a phase of extreme instability throughout the Middle East, during which Tehran played a central role by coordinating the forces involved in the so-called “resistance axis”. A few weeks ago, for the first time, Tehran directly attacked Israel with a missile launch hundreds of missiles in response to the bombing of the Iranian diplomatic headquarters in Damascus by the “Jewish state“. Foreign Pages

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