Fate of President Ebrahim Raïssi, research, weather… What we know after the accident of his helicopter in Iran

Fate of President Ebrahim Raïssi, research, weather… What we know after the accident of his helicopter in Iran
Fate of President Ebrahim Raïssi, research, weather… What we know after the accident of his helicopter in Iran

Intense searches are still underway on Sunday in northwest Iran to find the helicopter carrying President Ebrahim Raïssi, the victim of an “accident” according to officials and official media.

“There is no news at the moment,” said the government spokesperson, quoted by the Iranian Tasnim agency. For his part, Ayatollah Khamenei declared that “the Iranian people should not worry, there will be no disruption”, and to “hope that God will bring the president and his companions back into the arms of the nation.” “Pray all for the health of these servants,” the leader added in a speech to families of members of the Revolutionary Guards.

What happened ?

Iranian President Ebrahim Raïssi visited the province of Eastern Azerbaijan on Sunday, where he notably inaugurated a dam accompanied by the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliev, on the border between the two countries.

A convoy of three helicopters transported the presidential delegation. After the visit, two of them landed safely in Tabriz, a large city in northwest Iran, but not the third plane in which the Iranian president was supposed to be.

Initially, state television indicated that, according to “certain unconfirmed information”, the helicopter carrying President Raïssi had had “an accident in the province of East Azerbaijan” before being more affirmative at the time. course of the day.

The Minister of the Interior, Ahmed Vahidi, spoke to state television of a “hard landing” of the aircraft, without giving additional details.

Where is the research?

The search was made very difficult by “unfavorable weather conditions,” said Interior Minister Ahmed Vahidi. “It may take time to reach the area,” he added, although the location is believed to be located in the Dizmar Forest, near the town of Varzaghan.

State television also broadcast images of several members of the Iranian Red Crescent walking in thick fog. The Tasnim agency also shared photos of the weather conditions in the search area.

The Islamic Republic’s official IRNA news agency reported that “more than 20 rescue teams with full equipment, including drones and rescue dogs,” had “been dispatched to the scene.” According to the Iranian press, a meeting is being held at Tabriz airport, in the presence of the CEO of the airport company and several experts to try to find the helicopter.

This Sunday evening, the EU announced that it had activated its mapping system to help Iran find Raisi’s helicopter. “At Iran’s request for assistance, we are activating the EU’s CopernicusEMS rapid response mapping service in response to the helicopter crash believed to be carrying Iran’s president and his foreign minister” , declared Tuesday on X the European Commissioner in charge of humanitarian aid, Janez Lenarcic.

Who was on board the missing plane?

Still according to information from Irna, the Iranian president was not alone on board. Indeed, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, was also among the passengers of the plane, with the governor of the province and the main imam of the region.

The vice-president, Mohammad Mokhber, left Tehran late Sunday afternoon to reach Tabriz in the company of several ministers, according to the government spokesperson.

How did the international community react?

President Ilham Aliev, the last head of state to have seen Ebrahim Raïssi, reacted publicly on his X account, declaring himself “very concerned by the announcement of the emergency landing of the helicopter carrying the high delegation to Iran “. “Our prayers to Almighty God accompany President Ibrahim Raisi and his accompanying delegation,” he added, indicating his readiness “to provide any type of support.”

Other countries also provided support. Like Iraq or Saudi Arabia, countries with a long-standing rivalry with Iran. “We affirm that the kingdom stands with the Islamic Republic of Iran in these difficult circumstances and is ready to provide all assistance that the Iranian authorities require,” the Ministry of Affairs said in a statement. foreign companies of Saudi Arabia.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who met the Iranian president last January, said he was “deeply saddened” and offered “all necessary support” to find the Iranian president. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told AFP that Iran had “required technical support for the research”. “We are closely monitoring the incident, in contact and coordination with the Iranian authorities, and we are ready to provide all necessary support,” the Turkish head of state said on X.

Who is Ebrahim Raïssi?

Ebrahim Raïssi has been president of the Islamic Republic of Iran for almost three years. He was elected on June 18, 2021, in the first round of a vote marked by a record abstention for a presidential election and the absence of strong competitors. He succeeded the moderate Hassan Rouhani.

Considered an ultraconservative, he also has the title of ayatollah and is always wearing his black turban and a long religious cloak.

Last March, he emerged strengthened from the legislative elections, the first national poll since the protest movement which shook Iran following the death of Mahsa Amini. The Iranian president then welcomed “a new historic failure inflicted on Iran’s enemies after the riots” of 2022. Under his mandate, repression increased against the civilian population.

He is on the American blacklist of Iranian officials sanctioned by Washington for “complicity in serious human rights violations”, accusations dismissed as null and void by the authorities in Tehran.

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