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Iran’s President Dies in Helicopter Crash, Egypt Sends Condolences

May 20, 2024

Iran’s government and state media have confirmed that Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian died when their helicopter crashed in a remote region of northwest Iran on 19 May.

Along with Raisi, a total of nine people, including a provincial governor, were on board when the aircraft went down in northern Iran’s East Azerbaijan province.

Following the announcement of Raisi’s death, Iran’s government convened an “urgent meeting” as the clerical establishment, headed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, prepares for new leadership.

According to Iran’s constitution, the first vice president, Mohammad Mokhber, will take over presidential duties. The constitution also mandates that presidential elections be arranged within 50 days.

Meanwhile, in response to the confirmation that the Iranian President and his entourage had been killed in the helicopter crash, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi and foreign ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid expressed “the solidarity of the Arab Republic of Egypt with the Iranian leadership and people in this profound loss.”

They also extended their heartfelt condolences and that the “Arab Republic of Egypt mourns, with deep sadness and grief, the passing of President Ibrahim Raisi, the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, as well as their companions.”

The deaths of Raisi and Iran’s foreign minister comes as Iran faces ongoing tensions with Israel, which has intensified in recent months.

Last month, Iran launched an unprecedented drone and missile attack on Israel, the first direct attack on the country by Iran.

Domestically, Iran’s leadership has faced significant challenges, including youth-led demonstrations against clerical rule and grim economic conditions.

The government has responded with a widening crackdown on dissent since nationwide protests broke out over the 2022 death of a young woman in the custody of the country’s notorious morality police.

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