Iran helicopter crash: Mohammad Mokhber becomes acting president after Raisi's death – Global News (Trending Perfect)

[ad_1]

Dubai, United Arab Emirates (AFP) – Iranian President Ibrahim RaisiThe foreign minister and several other officials were found dead on Monday, hours after their helicopter crashed in a foggy, mountainous area in the country's northwest, state media reported.

The collapse comes at a time when the Middle East remains unstable due to the crisis Israel-Hamas warduring which Raisi, then 63, under the leadership of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, launched an unprecedented drone and missile attack on Israel just last month.

Khamenei announced on Monday that Iranian First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber will assume the position of acting president of the country until elections are held.

During Raisi's term, Iran enriched uranium ever closer to weapons-grade levels, leading to escalating tensions with the West as Tehran also supplied bomb-carrying drones to Iran. Russia for its war in Ukraine And armed militias throughout the region.

Meanwhile, Iran has faced years of mass protests against the Shiite theocracy over a faltering economy and women's rights, making the moment even more sensitive for Tehran and the country's future.

In this photo provided by Moj News Agency, rescue teams are seen near the site of the helicopter accident carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Farezgan, northwestern Iran, Sunday, May 19, 2024. (Azin Haghighi, Moj News Agency via AP)

In this photo provided by Moj News Agency, rescue teams are seen near the site of the helicopter accident carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Farezgan, northwestern Iran, Sunday, May 19, 2024. (Azin Haghighi, Moj News Agency via AP)

In this photo provided by the Iranian Islamic Republic News Agency, IRNA, the helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi takes off from the Iranian border with Azerbaijan after President Raisi and his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev inaugurated the Giz Qalasi Dam, or Girl's Fortress, in Azerbaijan, Iran.  Sunday, May 19, 2024. (Ali Hamid Hadoust/IRNA via Associated Press)

In this photo provided by the Iranian Islamic Republic News Agency, IRNA, the helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi takes off from the Iranian border with Azerbaijan after President Raisi and his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev inaugurated the Giz Qalasi Dam, or Girl's Fortress, in Azerbaijan, Iran. Sunday, May 19, 2024. (Ali Hamid Hadoust/IRNA via Associated Press)

Among the dead was an Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdullahian60. The state-run IRNA news agency reported that the helicopter was also carrying the governor of Iran's East Azerbaijan province, a senior cleric from Tabriz, three crew members and a Revolutionary Guard official. The IRNA news agency said the accident killed eight people, including three crew members, aboard the Bell helicopter, which Iran purchased in the early 2000s.

Planes in Iran face a shortage of spare parts, and often fly without safety checks against the backdrop of Western sanctions. That is why, in an interview on Monday, former Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif sought to blame the United States for the plane crash.

“One of the main culprits in yesterday’s tragedy is the United States, which… has banned the sale of aircraft and aviation parts to Iran and is not allowing the Iranian people to enjoy good aviation facilities,” Zarif said. He added: “These crimes will be included in the list of American crimes against the Iranian people.”

State television did not mention a direct cause of the accident The incident occurred in East Azerbaijan province in Iran.

The United States has not yet commented publicly on Raisi's death. State television said that Ali Bagheri Kani, the Iranian nuclear negotiator, would take over as acting foreign minister.

Early Monday morning, Turkish authorities released what they described as drone footage showing what appeared to be a wildfire “suspected to be helicopter wreckage.” Coordinates included in the footage point to the fire about 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of the Azerbaijan-Iran border on the side of a steep mountain.

Footage published by the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) early Monday showed what the agency described as the crash site across a steep valley in a green mountain range. “Here she is, we found her,” soldiers speaking the local Azeri language said.

Condolences began to flow from neighbors and allies after Iran confirmed that there were no survivors of the accident. Pakistan declared a day of mourning, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a post on the X website that his country “stands with Iran in this time of grief.” The leaders of Egypt and Jordan also offered condolences, as well as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Lebanon and Syria declared three days of mourning.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said he and his government were “deeply shocked” – and Raisi was returning on Sunday after traveling to Iran's border with Azerbaijan to open a dam with Aliyev when the incident occurred.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Chinese President Xi Jinping conveyed their condolences. Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a statement issued by the Kremlin, described Raisi as “a true friend of Russia.”

Khamenei, who urged the public to pray on Sunday night, stressed that the Iranian government's work will continue no matter what happens.

Under the Iranian constitution, Iran's first vice president takes office in the event of the president's death, with Khamenei's approval, and new presidential elections will be called within 50 days. Khamenei, in a condolence message on Monday for Raisi's death, declared five days of public mourning and acknowledged that an informant had taken over as acting president.

State media reported that an informant had already begun receiving calls from foreign officials and governments in Raisi's absence.

An emergency meeting of the Iranian Cabinet was held as announced by official media on Monday morning. The Cabinet subsequently issued a statement pledging that it would follow a major path and that “with the help of God and the people, there will be no problem in running the country.”

a The hardliner who previously led the country's judiciaryRaisi was seen as one of Khamenei's disciples, and some analysts suggested he could replace the 85-year-old leader after Khamenei's death or resignation.

With Raisi's death, the only other person suggested so far is Mojtaba Khamenei, the 55-year-old son of the Supreme Leader. However, some have expressed concerns about this position being transferred for only the third time since 1979 to a family member, especially after the Islamic Revolution overthrew the Shah's hereditary Pahlavi monarchy.

Main He won the Iranian presidential elections in 2021, This is the vote that witnessed the lowest turnout in the history of the Islamic Republic. The United States imposes sanctions on Raisi for reasons including his involvement in the mass execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988 at the end of the bloody war between Iran and Iraq.

Under Raisi, Iran is now enriching uranium to near weapons-grade levels and obstructing international inspections. Iran has armed Russia in its war against Ukraine, and has also launched a large-scale attack with drones and missiles on Israel amid its war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. It has also continued to arm proxy groups in the Middle East, such as the Houthi rebels in Yemen and Lebanese Hezbollah.

Meanwhile, massive protests have erupted in the country for years. The latest was the death of 2022 Mahsa Amini, A woman was detained earlier for allegedly not wearing a hijab or head covering, as desired by the authorities. The months-long security crackdown that followed the demonstrations left more than 500 people dead and more than 22,000 arrested.

In March, a UN commission of inquiry found that Iran was responsible for the “physical violence” that led to Amini's death.

Raisi is the second Iranian president to die in office. In 1981, a bomb explosion killed President Mohammad Ali Rajai in the chaotic days that followed the country's Islamic Revolution.

___

Associated Press writer Nasser Karimi in Tehran, Iran, contributed to this report.


[ad_2]

Source

Leave a comment