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The President of Iran has died in a helicopter crash

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The President of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi, and Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian have died in a helicopter crash.
Ebrahim Raisi

The President of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi, and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian have died in a helicopter crash.

The helicopter crashed in mountainous terrain in northern Iran amid heavy fog, triggering a large-scale search.

Iran’s Vice President is expected to temporarily take over the Presidency.

Here’s what we know.

Power in Iran

Iran is ruled by its “Supreme Leader”, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. 85-year-old Khamenei has been in power since 1989. The Ayatollah has oversight of most aspects of Iranian life and decision-making.

However, the President is the top elected official in Iran. They are responsible for day-to-day government operations and appointing ministers.

President Raisi was recently made a member of the council to decide who will succeed the Ayatollah on his death, and was considered a strong candidate.

Ebrahim Raisi

Ebrahim Raisi was elected President of Iran in 2021.

Before his presidency, Raisi was head of Iran’s court system, making him the highest legal authority in the country’s judiciary.

Human rights groups have linked him to wide-scale killings of the regime’s opponents.

Following the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, Raisi was on a sentencing panel that ordered the executions of as many as 5,000 political prisoners, according to Amnesty International.

The crash

President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian were travelling from neighbouring Azerbaijan, after the opening ceremony of a new dam on both countries’ borders.

State media reports differ on where the helicopter went down.

It triggered an immediate search and rescue effort, with multiple countries – including Russia and Türkiye – offering resources and personnel to help locate the missing helicopter.

During search efforts, Turkish drones showed heat maps believed to be the wreckage of the missing helicopter.

Rescue teams then alerted Iranian state media to the discovery.

Iranian authorities have since confirmed the helicopter crashed as it was crossing mountain terrain in heavy fog. Raisi and Amir-Abdollahian were killed in the incident.

What next?

Vice President Muhammad Mukhbar is expected to take over from Raisi as interim President.

Iran’s Constitution also requires a Presidential election to be held within 50 days.

Earlier, Khamenei said that “the administration of the country will not be disrupted”.

Response

Footage shared on social media shows Iranian people taking to the streets to celebrate news of the crash.

Meanwhile, others have followed the Ayatollah’s commands to “pray” for the President by gathering at mosques.

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