Iranian President Found Dead At Helicopter Crash Site On Foggy Mountain.

A handout picture provided by the Iranian presidency shows Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi (C) at the site of Qiz Qalasi, the third dam jointly built by Iran and Azerbaijan on the Aras River, ahead of its inauguration ceremony, May 19, 2024.
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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and other officials were found dead Monday at the site of a helicopter crash in northwestern Iran, state media said.

Search crews found the wreckage Monday, a day after the helicopter crashed in bad weather near Varzaqan in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province. The Iranian officials were returning to Iran after attending a dam project inauguration at the Iran-Azerbaijan border.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei announced five days of mourning, and placed Vice President Mohammad Mokhber in charge of the executive branch. An election for a new president is due to be held within 50 days.

Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani was named as acting foreign minister.

Raisi, an ultraconservative Khamenei protege seen by some observers as the supreme leader’s preferred successor, was elected president in a 2021 vote that saw his most prominent rivals barred from running and a record low turnout from the electorate.

Images posted to social media and deemed credible by VOA Persian showed opponents of Iran’s authoritarian Islamist rulers setting off fireworks in multiple locations late Sunday to celebrate the prospect of Raisi’s demise.

In one video, a female narrator identifies the location of fireworks as southern Tehran.

VOA could not independently verify the circumstances of the fireworks as it is barred from reporting inside Iran.

Earlier Sunday, Iranian state TV showed footage of government supporters gathering in different parts of the country to pray for Raisi’s safe return.

State news agency IRNA quoted Khamenei as saying: “The Iranian nation shouldn’t be worried. There will be no disruption to the operations of the country.”

IRNA also published a photo showing Vice President Mokhber chairing an emergency cabinet session to deal with the crash’s aftermath.

Source: VOA
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