Helicopter Crash Claims Life Of Iran’s President And Several Others

(NewsSpace.com) – President Ebrahim Raisi was a controversial figure, a brutal leader of a regime known for carrying out human rights violations. He was returning from an official meeting on Monday, May 20, when the Bell 212 helicopter he was on crashed. He and eight others died on impact.

The crash, attributed to the poor weather conditions, namely dense fog, happened in the mountainous region near the Azerbaijan border. Some have pointed the finger at the US for playing a part in the crash because of its sanctions. Safety checks are largely ignored in the country and Western sanctions have made it difficult for Iran to update its aircraft fleet or obtain replacement parts to carry out maintenance.

Raisi was traveling with three crew members, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, East Azerbaijan Province Governor Malik Rahmati, Tabriz Imam Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Al-Hashem, and Sardar Seyed Mehdi Mousavi, who headed Raisi’s guard team.

Raisi was largely seen as Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s protege. His absence will create a hole in that leadership position, particularly with the younger politicians disagreeing with Khamenei’s stance on many issues. There’s some speculation that the supreme leader will turn to his son to continue after his death. In the meantime, First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber was named interim president, until a new one can be elected.

On Monday, Khamenei declared there would be five days of mourning. Funeral proceedings began on Tuesday and will last until Friday. That’s when Raisi will be laid to rest in Mashhad, a holy city. Thousands flocked to the Tabriz on Tuesday, many holding posters of the deceased. Wednesday is a national holiday due to the funeral in the capital city of Tehran.

The presidential election, which has to happen within 50 days of Raisi’s death, is now scheduled for June 28. Candidates will be able to register from May 30 to June 3 and then campaign from June 12 to 27.

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