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The helicopter carrying the Iranian president crashed in the mountains, an official says

A helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his foreign minister crashed on Sunday while crossing a mountainous area in thick fog while returning from a visit to the border with Azerbaijan, an Iranian official told Reuters.

The official said the lives of Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian were “at risk following the helicopter crash.”

“We still have hope, but the information coming from the crash site is very worrying,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

Bad weather is hampering rescue efforts, state news agency IRNA reported.

State TV interrupted all its regular programming to show prayers for Raisi across the country and, in one corner of the screen, live coverage of rescue teams searching on foot in the mountainous area amid thick fog .

Raisi, 63, was elected president on his second try in 2021 and since taking office he has ordered a tightening of moral laws, overseen a bloody crackdown on anti-government protests and pushed forward nuclear negotiations with world powers.

In Iran’s political system, divided between the clerical establishment and the government, it is the supreme leader and not the president who has the final say on all major policies.

But many see Raisi as a strong candidate to succeed his mentor, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has strongly supported Raisi’s key policies.

Iranian Interior Minister Ahmed Vahidi told the state broadcaster only that one of the helicopters in a group of three had to make a difficult landing and that authorities were waiting for further details.

Raisi was on the border with Azerbaijan to inaugurate the Qiz-Qalaisi Dam, a joint project.

Source: Terra

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