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Iranian President, Foreign Minister Killed in Helicopter Crash, Say State Media

Tehran, May 20: Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian, and several other officials died in a helicopter crash in northwest Iran, as reported by state media Press TV. The tragic incident occurred while the officials were en route to Tabriz after a visit to the Iran-Azerbaijan border area.

The helicopter crash claimed the lives of East Azarbaijan Governor Malek Rahmati and East Azarbaijan Imam of Friday Prayer Mohammad Ali Ale-Hashem, among others. The helicopter encountered heavy fog, leading to the fatal accident.

Following the deaths of President Raisi and Foreign Minister Abdollahian, the Iranian government convened an urgent meeting, according to state news agency IRNA. The Iranian Constitution stipulates that, in such a scenario, the first vice president, with the approval of the Supreme Leader, will assume presidential duties. Vice President Mohammad Mokhber is expected to step in.

An Al Jazeera reporter noted the slim chances of survival given the extent of the wreckage. Iranian authorities reported that some bodies were burned beyond recognition, complicating the identification process at the crash site.

Drone footage broadcasted by state media showed the wreckage on a steep, wooded hillside, with little left of the helicopter except for a blue and white tail. The crash site, found on the route from Khoylar village to Kelem, was discovered earlier today.

Rescue teams, guided by coordinates, reached the site but initially found no signs of the helicopter. Daylight allowed the teams to locate the helicopter’s blades and wings on a hill, directing them to the crash location.

The Iranian Red Crescent confirmed the severe damage and burning of the helicopter’s cabin, with no survivors found. Raisi was returning to Iran from Azerbaijan when the helicopter crashed due to bad weather conditions on Sunday afternoon.

According to reports, nine individuals were on board, including three officials, an imam, and flight and security team members. The IRGC-run media outlet Sepah identified the deceased as President Raisi, Foreign Minister Abdollahian, Governor Rahmati, Imam Alehashem, and several crew members.

Iran is facing an unprecedented situation with the simultaneous loss of its president and foreign minister in this tragic helicopter crash.

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