Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi dead after helicopter smashed into mountains

Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi dead after helicopter smashed into mountains

Watch as GB News covers reports of Raisi's death

GB News
James Saunders

By James Saunders

Published: 20/05/2024

- 06:08

Updated: 20/05/2024

- 09:26

Blizzard conditions had led to the rotorcraft crashing into a mountaintop in north-west Iran

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has been confirmed dead after a helicopter crash yesterday afternoon.

State media announced he had died alongside Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian after the rotorcraft smashed into a hillside in the north-west of the country, near its border with Azerbaijan.

The crashed occurred after poor weather conditions, with blizzards and heavy fog meaning it took hours for the wreckage of the helicopter to be found.

After an overnight search through poor terrain and worse weather, rescue teams eventually reached the crash site in the early hours of Monday morning.

Helicopter crash/Ebrahim RaisiEbrahim Raisi died alongside Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian after the rotorcraft smashed into a hillsideReuters
Red Crescent search teams

Search teams led by Iran's Red Crescent scoured the hills through thick fog to find the wreckage


"President Raisi, the foreign minister and all the passengers in the helicopter were killed in the crash," a senior Iranian official told Reuters, asking not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Raisi's death was later confirmed in a statement on social media by Vice President Mohsen Mansouri and on state television.

State-run news agencies in Iran reported that the craft - a US-made Bell 212 helicopter - had hit a mountain peak, though there has still not yet been official word on the cause of the crash.

Iran's head of state, the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had earlier tried to reassure Iranians, saying there would be no disruption to state affairs.


Ebrahim Raisi/Hamas/Houthi rebels

Hamas and the Houthi rebels praised Raisi and sent condolences to the Iranian people


Regional heads of state and Iran-aligned terror groups paid tribute to Raisi as reports began filtering through of his death this morning.

A statement by Hamas said the organisation sent its "deepest condolences and solidarity" to Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the Iranian government, and the Iranian people for "this immense loss."

It praised the deceased Iranian leaders for their pro-Palestine stance, and expressed confidence that Iran's "deep-rooted institutions" will enable it to overcome "the repercussions of this great loss."

While Mohammed Ali Al-Houthi, the head of Yemen's Houthi Supreme Revolutionary Committee - the political wing of the rebel group plaguing the Red Sea since the end of 2023 - said: "Our deepest condolences to the Iranian people, the Iranian leadership, and the families of President Raisi and the accompanying delegation on their reported martyrdom.

Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi died on Sunday afternoonREUTERS

"We ask God to grant their families patience and solace. Verily we belong to Allah and to Him we shall return. The Iranian people will remain adhering to the loyal leaders of their people, by God's will."

Tributes also came in from countries including China, Iraq, India, Pakistan and Russia, as well as the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and the EU's Charles Michel.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was "deeply saddened and shocked by the tragic demise of Dr Seyed Ebrahim Raisi," adding: "His contribution to strengthening India-Iran bilateral relationship will always be remembered. My heartfelt condolences to his family and the people of Iran. India stands with Iran in this time of sorrow."

While Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hailed Raisi as a true patriot of the Islamic Republic, saying: "In Russia, the President of Iran, Raisi, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran, Amirabdollahian, were known as true, reliable friends of our country."

In Iran, if a president dies in office, article 131 of the Islamic Republic's constitution says that the first vice president - Mohammad Mokhber - takes over with the blessing of the Ayatollah.

A council consisting of the first vice president, the speaker of parliament and the head of the judiciary must arrange an election for a new president within 50 days at most.

Raisi was elected president in 2021 and, under the usual timetable, a presidential election had been due to take place in 2025. Under Iran's constitutional rules, it can now be expected to take place by early July.

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