President Raisi and others confirmed dead in helicopter crash

Helicopter completely burned in crash ... unfortunately, all passengers are dead, says official.

DUBAI: President Ebrahim Raisi of Iran, his foreign minister and others have died in a helicopter crash, Iranian officials said on Monday after search teams reached the wreckage in the mountainous terrain northwest of Iran. 

“President Raisi, the foreign minister and all the passengers in the helicopter were killed in the crash,” a senior Iranian official told Reuters, asking not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Raisi’s death was later confirmed in a statement on social media by Vice President Mohsen Mansouri and on state television.

“President Raisi’s helicopter was completely burned in the crash … unfortunately,” the official told Reuters.

Rescue teams fought blizzards and difficult terrain through the night to reach the wreckage in East Azerbaijan province in the early hours of Monday.

“With the discovery of the crash site, no signs of life was detected among the helicopter’s passengers.”

Raisi, 63, was elected president in 2021, and since taking office has ordered a tightening of morality laws, overseen a bloody crackdown on anti-government protests and pushed hard in nuclear talks with world powers.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who holds ultimate power with a final say on foreign policy and Iran’s nuclear programme, had earlier sought to reassure Iranians, saying there would be no disruption to state affairs.

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