Home Featured Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi dies in helicopter crash – POLITICO
Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi dies in helicopter crash – POLITICO

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi dies in helicopter crash – POLITICO

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Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian was also on board and is presumed dead, along with the head of the presidential guard Mehdi Mousavi, East Azerbaijan Governor Malek Rahmati, Representative of the Iranian Supreme Leader in East Azerbaijan Mohammad Ali Ale-Hashem and the helicopter’s pilot, co-pilot and crew.

Raisi, 63, was a conservative cleric and former judiciary chief who was responsible for decades of vicious crackdowns against his own people’s aspirations for greater personal freedoms and democracy, arresting, torturing and executing tens of thousands of the Islamist regime’s opponents. 

Educated in the seminary city of Qom and dubbed “the butcher,” Iran’s opposition accused him of being involved in the execution of thousands of political prisoners in the late 1980s. As judiciary chief, he was also directly responsible for the wave of arrests and executions that followed massive anti-regime protests in 2019-2020. 

As president, he oversaw the iron-fisted repression of the “Women, Life, Freedom” movement that followed the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. Tens of thousands were arrested, and the death toll is estimated at more than 500. 

The terrible weather on Sunday meant it had been impossible to search for Raisi’s helicopter with aircraft, and rescue teams needed to work on foot, helped by special forces, dog teams and drones. Turkey sent an advanced Akıncı drone and the EU activated its Copernicus emergency satellite mapping network to help with the search, confirmed the bloc’s crisis management commissioner, Janez Lenarčič.

Raisi had been returning from a visit to the Azerbaijan border, where he met with President Ilham Aliyev. The pair cut the ribbon on a major dam along the Aras river border.

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