The President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi, has been declared dead after a helicopter crash

Raisi entering the helicopter that would eventually crash and leave no survivors. Source: Mehr News Agency

The Iranian government is set to hold an emergency meeting and issue a statement regarding the tragic death of President Ebrahim Raisi. This follows a helicopter crash that claimed the lives of at least eight people, as reported by the Tasnim news agency.

Among the victims were all of President Raisi’s entourage, including Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. The helicopter, carrying the president, crashed in the mountains of northwestern Iran, near the borders with Azerbaijan and Turkey.

Rescue efforts have confirmed that there were no survivors. Teams arrived at the crash site ten hours after the incident, according to statements from the Iranian Red Crescent chief Pirhossein Kolivand on state television. The passengers included President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, the governor of Iran’s East Azerbaijan Province, Malik Rahmati, and Tabriz province’s Ayatollah Ali Hashim.

President Raisi was returning from a visit to Iran’s East Azerbaijan province, where he and Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev had participated in the inauguration ceremony of a dam on the Aras River. The crash occurred on a Sunday in mountainous terrain, hampering rescue operations due to severe weather conditions, as stated by Iran’s Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi.

Late in the night, Anadolu Agency, broadcasting from a Turkish drone sent to aid in the search, reported locating the probable crash site. Rescue teams were dispatched to the identified location.

Tasnim news agency reported that two out of the three helicopters in the convoy successfully reached their destination. These helicopters were transporting Iran’s Minister of Energy Ali Akbar Mehrabian and Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mehrdad Bazrpash.

International sanctions have complicated the maintenance and repair of helicopters in Iran. The country’s air fleet mainly consists of aircraft procured before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, adding to the challenges faced by the rescue and recovery teams.