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State media reports indicate that Iranian President Raisi may have been killed in a helicopter crash, with no signs of life reported

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, along with Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, is reportedly feared to have perished in a tragic helicopter crash, as revealed by state media on Monday.

State television conveyed the grim news, stating that there were no signs of life at the crash site where the helicopter carrying Raisi, Amirabdollahian, and other individuals had gone down.

The Iranian Red Crescent Society’s chief, as cited by the semi-official news agency Mehr News, reported that no surviving passengers were found amidst the wreckage.

Despite these reports, there has been no official confirmation regarding the president’s fate.

Drone footage released by the state media outlet FARS News Agency depicted the aftermath of the crash, showing the helicopter’s debris strewn across a rugged hillside.

The incident occurred as Raisi was returning from inaugurating a dam situated on Iran’s border with the Azerbaijan Republic. The helicopter crashed during its landing in the Varzaqan region of northern Iran on Sunday evening, local time, according to Iran’s state news agency IRNA.

Accompanying Raisi in the helicopter were East Azerbaijan’s governor, Malik Rahmati, and members of the president’s security detail.

Initial reports revealed that the president’s convoy consisted of three helicopters, with two making safe landings, as per Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency.

Communication with Raisi’s helicopter was abruptly severed approximately thirty minutes into the flight, disclosed Iran’s Vice President for Executive Affairs, Mohsen Mansouri. Raisi was en route to Tabriz city to oversee the launch of an oil project.

Challenging weather conditions and the rugged terrain of the crash site hindered search and rescue efforts, stated Pirhossein Koulivand, the chief of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, according to reports.

In response to the emergency, Turkey and Russia dispatched aircraft to assist in the search operations.

Raisi, aged 63, a staunch conservative politician, ascended to the presidency in 2021 after a failed bid in 2017.

As an influential political figure, he was regarded as a potential successor to the supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei. Throughout his presidency, Raisi implemented stringent measures to suppress dissent within the country.

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