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Thousands Mourn President Ebrahim Raisi After Fatal Helicopter Crash in Iran

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A tragic helicopter crash in a mountainous part of Iran claimed the lives of President Ebrahim Raisi and seven others, prompting an outpouring of grief and mourning from thousands of Iranians in the city of Tabriz. Mourners, carrying Iranian flags and portraits of the late president, lined the streets as they followed a funeral procession through north-west Iran. However, not all Iranians supported Raisi, and his death was met with celebration by many on social media, highlighting the divisive nature of his presidency.

The funeral procession, which included a lorry bearing the coffins of Raisi and other victims, was a sombre event marked by Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi’s pledge to continue the path of the “martyrs” who perished in the crash. From Tabriz, Raisi’s body is scheduled to be transported to Qom, a city of significant religious importance in Iran, before being moved to Tehran for processions and a farewell ceremony led by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The final resting place for Raisi is expected to be in his birthplace, Mashhad, where he is to be buried.

The helicopter crash occurred as Raisi was returning from a visit to Azerbaijan, where he had been meeting with President Ilham Aliyev. The purpose of the visit was reportedly to inaugurate dams in the region. The president’s death was announced by state television, and the Iranian Red Crescent confirmed that search operations had concluded and the bodies had been recovered.

The untimely death of Raisi, a hard-line cleric who assumed the presidency in 2021, has cast a shadow over the upcoming presidential elections in Iran, scheduled for 28th June. In the interim, Vice-President Mohammad Mokhber has been tasked with assuming presidential duties. The loss of Raisi, who was a prominent figure in Iranian politics, has left a void that will undoubtedly impact the country’s future political landscape.

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