Helicopter Carrying Iran’s President Raisi Crashes, Search Operations Ongoing

On Sunday, a helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi encountered an accident in East Azerbaijan province.

The incident occurred near Jolfa, a city located on the border with Azerbaijan, approximately 600 kilometers northwest of Tehran.

President Raisi, along with Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, the governor of East Azerbaijan, and other officials, was travelling in the helicopter.

Initial reports from state media presented conflicting narratives of the incident. While some characterized it as a “hard landing,” a local government official referred to it as a “crash” but acknowledged not having reached the site for confirmation.

Rescue operations are in progress, but adverse weather conditions including heavy rain, fog, and wind are hindering efforts. The area where the incident took place is described as forested terrain.

President Raisi’s visit to the province was to inaugurate a dam on the Aras River alongside Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev. This visit comes amid recent tensions between Iran and Azerbaijan, including a 2023 attack on Azerbaijan’s Embassy in Tehran and Azerbaijan’s diplomatic ties with Israel.

According to reports, the incident involved a total of three helicopters. While two landed safely, the third, carrying President Raisi, faced difficulties. Some passengers from the affected helicopter were able to make contact with authorities, but there is currently no immediate information available regarding President Raisi’s condition.

Ali Zakari, Deputy Governor for Development in East Azerbaijan, mentioned that he had not yet reached the accident site and was lacking detailed information. Iran’s Red Crescent has dispatched rescue teams to the location as efforts to reach the crash site continue.

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Iran’s Interior Minister Assures Situation is Under Control

Iran’s Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi confirmed that one of the helicopters in the president’s convoy underwent a hard landing.

“Multiple rescue groups are en route to the site, but due to fog and adverse weather conditions, reaching the area may take time. However, the situation is under control,” Vahidi assured.

President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif of Pakistan expressed their concerns and offered prayers for the safety of President Raisi and Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian following the incident. They shared their sentiments on social media platforms, hoping for positive news amid the distressing situation.


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