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Intense seek for Iran’s President Raisi after helicopter ‘accident’

Intense search for Iran's President Raisi after helicopter 'accident'

On this picture offered by MojNews on Could 19, 2024, rescuers collect earlier than heading in direction of the location of the “accident” involving a helicopter within the convoy of Iran’s President within the Jolfa area of the western province of East Azerbaijan. (Photograph by AZIN HAGHIGHI / MojNews / AFP)

Tehran, Iran — Iran was thrown into uncertainty Sunday as search and rescue groups scoured a fog-shrouded mountain space after President Ebrahim Raisi’s helicopter went lacking in what state media described as an “accident”.

Fears grew for the 63-year-old ultraconservative after contact was misplaced with the plane carrying him in addition to International Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and others in East Azerbaijan province, experiences mentioned.

READ: Helicopter carrying Iran president in ‘accident’, search underway

The supreme chief, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, urged Iranians to “not fear” in regards to the management of the Islamic republic, saying “there can be no disruption within the nation’s work”.

“We hope that Almighty God will carry our pricey president and his companions again in full well being into the arms of the nation,” he mentioned in a nationally televised deal with as Muslim trustworthy prayed for Raisi’s protected return.

Expressions of concern and presents to assist got here from overseas, together with Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey, in addition to from the European Union which activated its speedy response mapping service to help within the search effort.

Iran’s overseas ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani expressed gratitude for “governments and worldwide organizations for his or her sympathy and provide of assist in the search and rescue operations.”

State tv first reported within the afternoon that “an accident occurred to the helicopter carrying the president” within the Jolfa area.

“The tough climate circumstances and heavy fog have made it troublesome for the rescue groups to succeed in the accident website,” mentioned one broadcaster, as the huge search effort later continued into the evening.

Iran’s Pink Crescent chief Pirhossein Koolivand instructed state TV the world of the accident “has but to be recognized” and that the state of affairs remained “troublesome”.

Inside Minister Ahmad Vahidi mentioned the helicopter “made a tough touchdown” in unhealthy climate and that it was “troublesome to ascertain communication” with the plane.

He urged folks to get their info “solely from state tv”, and never hearken to overseas media channels Iran deems hostile to the Islamic republic.

Huge search effort 

Iran’s cupboard held an emergency assembly led by vice chairman Mohammad Mokhber after the incident, IRNA reported.

Raisi’s convoy had included three helicopters, and the opposite two had “reached their vacation spot safely”, mentioned the Tasnim information company.

Greater than 60 rescue groups utilizing search canines and drones have been despatched to the mountainous protected forest space of Dizmar close to the city of Varzaghan, the IRNA information company reported.

Military, Revolutionary Guard and law enforcement officials joined the search, authorities mentioned, as TV stations confirmed photos of Pink Crescent groups strolling up a hill within the mist, and rows of ready emergency response autos.

Raisi had visited the northwestern province to inaugurate a dam mission along with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, on their widespread border.

Aliyev mentioned in a submit on X that “we have been profoundly troubled by the information of a helicopter carrying the highest delegation crash-landing in Iran”.

“Our prayers to Allah Almighty are with President Ebrahim Raisi and the accompanying delegation,” he mentioned, additionally providing “any help wanted”.

International international locations have been intently following the search at a time of excessive regional tensions over the Gaza warfare between Israel and Hamas since October 7 that has drawn in different armed teams within the Center East.

A US State Division spokesman mentioned: “We’re intently following experiences of a doable onerous touchdown of a helicopter in Iran carrying the Iranian president and overseas minister”, including that “we now have no additional remark presently”.

US President Joe Biden has been briefed on the crash, an American official mentioned on situation of anonymity.

Iranians pray for President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in Valiasr Square in central Tehran on May 19, 2024.

Iranians pray for President Ebrahim Raisi and International Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in Valiasr Sq. in central Tehran on Could 19, 2024. A helicopter within the convoy Raisi and Amir-Abdollahian was concerned in “an accident” in East Azerbaijan province in poor climate circumstances on Could 19, state tv reported. (Photograph by ATTA KENARE / AFP)

‘Servant of the folks’ 

Raisi has been president since 2021 when he succeeded the reasonable Hassan Rouhani, at a time when the financial system was battered by US sanctions over Iran’s contested nuclear programme.

Iran noticed a wave of protests triggered by the demise in custody of Iranian-Kurdish lady Mahsa Amini in September 2022 after her arrest for allegedly flouting gown guidelines for ladies.

In March 2023, regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia signed a shock deal that restored diplomatic relations.

The Gaza warfare despatched regional tensions hovering once more and a collection of tit-for-tat escalations led to Tehran launching lots of of missiles and rockets instantly at Israel in April this yr.

In a speech following Sunday’s dam inauguration, Raisi emphasised Iran’s help for Palestinians, a centrepiece of its overseas coverage for the reason that 1979 Islamic revolution.

“We consider that Palestine is the primary challenge of the Muslim world, and we’re satisfied that the folks of Iran and Azerbaijan all the time help the folks of Palestine and Gaza and hate the Zionist regime,” mentioned Raisi.

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Hamas, which the USA and European Union take into account a terrorist group, mentioned that “on this painful incident, we specific our full solidarity with the Islamic Republic of Iran, its management, authorities and other people”.



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