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President of Iran dies in helicopter crash: Latest updates

President of Iran dies in helicopter crash: Latest updates Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi (Getty Images)

Yesterday, on May 19, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, along with other high-ranking officials, was on board a crashed helicopter. After a long search operation, Tehran officially announced his death.

Read more about the crash below.

Sources: Reuters, Bloomberg, local Iranian media IRNA and Mehr News, the Turkish Anadolu Agency, and the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

Hard landing

Local media in Iran spread information about the hard landing of the helicopter carrying Raisi, but there was no official confirmation. Later it turned out that the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, was also flying with the president.

Many fakes appeared around the plane crash. For example, there was information that one of the passengers on the presidential flight had allegedly made contact. The local media Mehr wrote that Raisi was traveling to Tabriz by car as part of a motorcade.

According to Reuters, citing an anonymous Iranian official, the crash happened on the way back from a visit to Azerbaijan. The helicopter was crossing mountainous terrain in heavy fog. Following the news of the crash, Iranian state television suspended its regular programs to show "prayers for the president across the country."

Search and rescue operation

A search and rescue operation was immediately organized in Iran, and it was complicated by heavy fog and harsh weather conditions. A total of 65 rescue teams participated.

According to local media, which cited the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a helicopter signal and a cell phone of one of the crew members were allegedly received in the province of East Azerbaijan.

Tehran has requested a night vision search and rescue helicopter from Ankara. Türkiye, for its part, additionally sent 32 rescue climbers, 6 vehicles, and an Akıncı UAV.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin also volunteered to help Iran.

At 6 a.m., it was reported that rescuers had discovered the crash site. But there were no signs that anyone could have survived the crash.

Later, Reuters reported that the helicopter had completely burned down after the crash. There was no official information about the fate of the passengers.

Other high-ranking officials died in crash

According to Mehr, the following officials died:

  • Ebrahim Raisi, President of Iran;
  • Hossein Amir Abdollahian, head of the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
  • Malek Rahmati, Governor of the East Azerbaijan Province of Iran;
  • Mohammad Ali Ale-Hashem, Representative of the Supreme Leader in East Azarbaijan;
  • several other unnamed officials.

The death of the president was also confirmed by the Vice President of Iran. Meanwhile, the local government is preparing for an emergency meeting.

Raisi's death will have consequences

According to analysts at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), Raisi's death will have serious consequences for the power transfer of the supreme leader. He was the main contender to replace Ali Khamenei.

"The next few days could change the immediate and long-term dynamics of the regime, including the succession of the supreme leader," ISW writes.

At the same time, the death of the president will not affect the current trajectory of the regime, which is based on a tough domestic and regional policy.

Meanwhile, the price of gold jumped to a historic high price after Raisi's death, according to Bloomberg,