Iran helicopter crash live updates: Funeral procession for Ebrahim Raisi as US he had ‘blood on his hands’

Rescue efforts underway to find missing helicopter of Iran president

A funeral procession for the late Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is underway in the city of Tabriz, close to the site of where his helicopter crashed on Sunday afternoon.

Tens of thousands of people appear to have turned out for the event in the capital of the Iranian province of East Azerbaijan, expected to be one of several processions across the country over the coming weeks. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is expected to lead congregational funeral prayers in Tehran after another procession in the holy city of Qom.

Despite the vast turnout, mourning across the country for the hardline leader has been muted. Raisi, nicknamed the “Butcher of Tehran” for his role in executing anti-regime protesters in the 1980s, also presided over a vicious crackdown against further protest in 2022 and last year.

US State department spokesperson Matt Miller said Raisi “has blood on his hands” for his involvement in suppressing dissent.

He described the former hardline cleric as “a brutal participant in the repression of the Iranian people for nearly four decades”.


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Tom Watling21 May 2024 09:30


Here are some of the latest photos from Raisi’s funeral procession

Below we have some of the latest photos from the funeral procession of the late Iranian President Ebrahim Raise, foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and the six other crew members who died in a helicopter crash on Sunday.

Tens of thousands of Iranians appear to have turned out for the procession, which is being held in the northwestern city of Tabriz, the capital of East Azerbaijan province.

The crash site was located nearby on Monday after rescue teams navigated difficult, foggy conditions and mountainous terrain.

This grab taken from handout video footage released by Iran Press on May 21, 2024 shows people gathering to mourn the Iranian President and seven members of his entourage during a funerary procession (IRAN PRESS/AFP via Getty Images)
Coffins of the Iranian President and seven members of his entourage are seen on a truck during the funerary procession (IRAN PRESS/AFP via Getty Images)
Thousands of Iranians gathered to mourn president Ebrahim Raisi and his entourage, whose helicopter crashed over fog-shrouded mountain in the country’s northwest, in processions setting off from Tabriz (IRAN PRESS/AFP via Getty Images)

Tom Watling21 May 2024 09:00


Where did Iran President Ebrahim Raisi’s helicopter crash?

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, a hardliner and potential successor to the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has been killed in a helicopter crash.

The helicopter took off from the Khodaafarin Dam, in the Iranian province of East Azerbaijan, on Sunday afternoon.

But the helicopter later crashed in a remote and mountainous region in the Arasbaran Forest, near the border with Azerbaijan in the Varzeqan region. The helicopter had been carrying both Raisi and Amirabdollahian, as well as six other passengers and crew.

The rough distance between where the helicopter is believed to have gone down and the Khodaafarin Dam is around 80 miles.

Tom Watling21 May 2024 08:25


Live: Funeral of Iran’s president Raisi after fatal helicopter crash

Tom Watling21 May 2024 07:52


State department criticized for sending ‘condolences’ for Raisi’s death

The US state department found itself playing defense on Monday after a spokesman offered “official condolences” for the death of Iran’s Ebrahim Raisi, alleged to have been responsible for ordering the murders of Iranian dissidents and brutal crackdowns on protesters.

Matthew Miller was sharply questioned by reporters at his daily briefing over the statement, which bore his name and was released minutes before the briefing took place.

In his response, he noted that the US had made similar statements after the deaths of other leaders with bloody records, such as Josef Stalin.

He also insisted that the statement “in no way — in no way at all undermines” the state department’s criticism of the Iranian government on issues of human rights and US opposition to Iranian support for various militant groups across the Middle East.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar21 May 2024 07:30


Lebanon and Syria announce three days of mourning

Lebanon and Syria on Monday announced three days of national mourning for the Iranian president and foreign minister, who were killed in a helicopter crash.

Iran enjoys sway in both countries, backing the Lebanese armed group Hezbollah in Lebanon and supporting Syria’s government and security forces stay in power throughout more than a decade of war.

“I can’t tell you how sorry I am about this incident that happened. Especially that the foreign minister had become a friend,” Lebanon’s foreign minister Abdallah Bou Habib told reporters.

Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad, as well as other Lebanese officials and Hezbollah, offered their condolences for the deaths.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar21 May 2024 07:00


Iran’s ex-foreign minister blames US sanctions for helicopter crash

Former foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif blamed US-imposed sanctions on Iran for the crash of the American Bell 212 helicopter that was carrying president Ebrahim Raisi and seven others.

The Bell 212 helicopter that crashed was purchased by Iran in the early 2000s, according to the state-run IRNA news agency. But aircraft in Iran face a shortage of parts because of Western sanctions, and often fly without safety checks.

“One of the main culprits of yesterday’s tragedy is the United States, which … embargoed the sale of aircraft and aviation parts to Iran and does not allow the people of Iran to enjoy good aviation facilities,” Mr Zarif told The Associated Press.

There are 15 Bell 212 helicopters with an average age of 35 years currently registered in Iran that could be in active use or in storage, according to aviation data firm Cirium.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar21 May 2024 06:30


Watch: State Department defends ‘condolences’ for Iranian president Raisi’s death

State Department defends ‘condolences’ for Iranian president Raisi’s death

Alexander Butler21 May 2024 06:00


Iran to hold presidential election on 28 June

Iran will hold an election on 28 June to find the successor for president Ebrahim Raisi following his death in a helicopter crash on Sunday.

The date was finalised in a meeting chaired by interim president Mohammad Mokhber on Monday evening.

The registration of candidates will be open from 30 May to 3 June, with the campaign period running from 12 to 27 June.

The Islamic Republic’s constitution directs that in the event the president dies or is incapacitated, the first vice president shall take over for an interim period of 50 days.

During that time the acting president must work with the speaker of parliament and the head of the judiciary to arrange for an urgent presidential election to be held.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar21 May 2024 05:30


Watch: Rescuers struggle to reach scene of Iranian president’s helicopter crash due to weather

Rescuers struggle to reach scene of Iranian president’s helicopter crash due to weather

Alexander Butler21 May 2024 05:00

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