Iranian President Raisi, Foreign Minister Confirmed Dead In Helicopter Crash

Update(0117ET): Iranian media has confirmed the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, 63, along with Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in a helicopter crash on the way back from an official visit to Azerbaijan earlier Sunday.

Reuters also confirmed Raisi's death.

"President Raisi, the foreign minister and all the passengers in the helicopter were killed in the crash," a senior official told the outlet on condition of anonymity.

*  *  *

Summary: 

  • Iran’s state television has confirmed the death of President Ebrahim Raisi

  • An Iranian official tells Reuters: “President Raisi’s helicopter was completely burned in the crash… unfortunately, all passengers are feared dead.”

  • The helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, the foreign minister, and other officials went down in a remote northern region on the way back from an official visit to Azerbaijan earlier Sunday.

  • It was initially described as a "hard landing" but later was widely acknowledged as a "crash" - and as the hours pass the situation looks more grim.

  • Search and rescue has taken hours to reach the crash site, but little is known of the progress, amid bad weather conditions.

  • Foreign Ministry: "Despite adverse weather and environmental conditions, efforts by rescue teams to reach the accident site continue earnestly and with hope."

  • Iranian population in state of 'uncertainty' as Supreme Leader asks for prayers for Raisi and the missing officials while assuring stability within government leadership.

  • Various countries have sent search and rescue help, including Russia and Turkey. Iran requested a night vision search and rescue helicopter from Turkey, according to Turkish disaster management agency AFAD.

  • Gulf countries express concern over crash, offer help in search.

  • ‘We hope for good news’ Iranian official tells Al Jazeera.

  • Iranian official told state TV that contact was made with one of the passengers and one of the crew members of the president's helicopter on several occasions.

  • Press TV in follow-up cites an IRGC commander to say "Reports about contacts made by President's companions after crash not factual."

  • Conflicting reports: "Rescue crews haven't yet located the crash site of the helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi," the head of Iran’s Red Crescent Society, Pir-Hossein Koulivand, told Iranian state TV IRINN.

  • Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander-in-chief Hossein Salami has arrived at the general area of the crash

  • "We're searching the area inch by inch, but the weather is very cold, foggy, and rainy. The rainfall is gradually turning into snowfall," said the commander of the Iranian Army's northwestern headquarters.

  • Heavy military presence reported in the capital of Tehran.

  • Thousands of Iranians pray for Raisi’s safe return after crash, but there are reports of others setting off fireworks.

  • Raisi had been in an aging Bell helicopter, with some reports saying it was over 40 years old.

  • US congressman gloats over Raisi crash: “Good riddance. Raisi was a murderous human rights abuser before and during his Presidency,” Rep Mike Waltz (R) wrote in a social media post.

  • Online speculation rampant over whether Israel or foreign intelligence could have been involved in a covert plot.

  • White House has been quiet but says it's aware of the developing situation; President Biden was given a briefing. 

Update(2325ET): What's looking like initial confirmation of President Raisi's death is emerging, though there has still not been an official statement from Iran's top leadership:

Iran’s state television says there is “no sign” of life among passengers of the helicopter which was carrying President Ebrahim Raisi and other officials.

“Upon finding the helicopter, there was no sign of the helicopter passengers being alive as of yet,” state TV reports.

An Iranian official tells Reuters: “President Raisi’s helicopter was completely burned in the crash… unfortunately, all passengers are feared dead.”

Some initial photos of the area where the helicopter went down have emerged, now some 15 hours after the crash was first reported.

Map via Al Jazeera

* * *

Below: video showing the Bell helicopter which was transporting the president. It is said to be decades old, also as Iran's aviation sector has languished under many years of US-led sanctions...

Update(1420ET): We are getting closer to learning the fate of Iran's President Raisi and his foreign minister and other officials aboard the helicopter which went down hours ago:

  • Iran's president Raisi's crashed helicopter has been found by search teams - State TV — Reuters
  • Iranian official tells State TV: Contacts have been made with one of the passengers and one of the crew members of the president's helicopter on several occasions — Reuters

The Red Crescent organization is denying that the crash site has been found, amid contradictory and early reporting. So far Iranian officials are signaling that the president is alive, but the situation remains uncertain and fluid, following widespread speculation that he could be deceased. 

Iranian officials are seeking to assure the nation and the world that continuity of decision-making and government is stable and assured, amid reports of a heavy military presence on the streets of the capital Tehran.

"The Iranian president's helicopter has been found" and contact has been made with the crew and "one of the passengers on board". At this point it is night time, amid bad weather...

* * *

Update(1315ET): Several hours into a massive search and rescue operation, things are not looking good as Iranian officials have been issuing 'thoughts and prayers' statements amid reports that severe fog and bad weather have prevented a proper aerial search for the downed helicopter of President Raisi and those with him. Deep uncertainty looms as Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, was reported as holding an emergency meeting with the National Security Council in Tehran (follow-up reports from state sources have downplayed or contracted this, however). The Iranian population is on edge as speculation grows that the president is feared dead:

“Nobody knows what exactly has happened and how the president and other local officials, because the situation is quite complicated,” he told Al Jazeera.

“As time goes on, hopes are decreasing because the conditions are getting much worse and it’s getting darker,” Aslani, a senior research fellow at the Center for Middle East Strategic Studies, noted.

“What is being felt here in Tehran [Iran’s capital] is mostly that feeling of uncertainty.”

At this moment, the president and his foreign minister, along with other officials are officially missing. Iran has mobilized the armed forces, including the IRGC, amid unconfirmed reports that even some of the search and rescue units are also possibly missing...

Initial footage from the far northern border region with Azerbaijan shows fog so thick that it's hard to see just dozens of meters ahead.

One independent regional monitor has said: "This is hardly a surprise. First responders and rescue crews are being dispatched en-masse without proper briefing/delegation of command."

More footage showing a difficult terrain and weather situation. Visibility at a distance is near zero...

Speculation that Raisi could be dead has begun to hit foreign media, including in Israel:

Iran official: Lives of president, FM ‘at risk’ after crash landing in wooded area


There has also been speculation of possible foreign interference as the search and rescue extends into hours, involving a massive military and security response, with drones and other deployed assets over the region...

STATEMENT FROM PRESIDENT OF AZERBAIJAN:

"Today, after a friendly meeting with the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi, the news of the emergency landing of the helicopter carrying the Iranian high delegation caused great concern. Our prayers to Almighty God are with President Ebrahim Raisi and his accompanying delegation. As a neighbor, friend and brother country, the Republic of Azerbaijan is ready to provide all kinds of support."

The official Instagram of the Iranian president is calling on all citizens to pray for his safety.

State media also appears to be fearing the worst, airing images like the following:

* * *

There are breaking reports that Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has been in a helicopter crash in a remote northern area of the country and that rescuers are trying to reach him and his crew. 

State media is currently calling it a "hard landing" - suggesting that the president is alive and well, however no other details on the precise nature of the helicopter incident have been revealed. 

What is known is that Raisi's helicopter went down while in the country's East Azerbaijan province and that it happened near the border city of Jolfa, and up to three helicopters total made up the air convoy at the time.

State-run IRNA news agency indicated that among the officials aboard the aircraft included Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian.

The Associated Press has quoted at least one Iranian official to say it was a "crash" and that there's an urgent rescue mission currently underway in a forested area:

One local government official used the word “crash” to describe the incident, but he acknowledged to an Iranian newspaper that he had yet to reach the site himself.

Rescuers were attempting to reach the site, state TV said, but had been hampered by poor weather conditions. There had been heavy rain and fog reported with some wind. IRNA called the area a “forest.”

It appears Raisi was traveling in connection with a trip to Azerbaijan earlier in the day, where he had overseen the inauguration of a dam with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev this morning. Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency has stated on X Sunday:

"Some of the president’s companions on this helicopter were able to communicate with Central Headquarters, raising hopes that the incident could have ended without casualties."

Thus far initial reports indicate that Raisi has survived the incident, but again the 'hard landing' appears to be significant - and possibly far worse - than what state media is letting on.

The fact that a rescue team has yet to even reach the location of the downed helicopter means this could be a potential casualty situation involving top officials.

Almost immediately, a number of online commenters raised the question of potential foreign involvement... "Israel?" some asked. However, it's also well understood that helicopters become more prone to incidents in foggy or inclement weather, and over mountainous difficult terrain. Iran's aviation industry has also long languished under Washington-led sanctions.

developing...

(Article by Tyler Durden republished from Zerohedge.com)

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post
Follow us on TruthSocial, X-Twitter, Gettr, Gab, VK, Anonup, Facebook and Telegram for interesting and mysterious bonus content!
If you are willing and able 👉 PayPal donate.

نموذج الاتصال