Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi Has 'hard Landing' In Helicopter | Old North State Wealth News
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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has ‘hard landing’ in helicopter



Rescue teams are trying to locate Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi after his helicopter was forced into an emergency landing on his way back from a visit to the country’s northwest.

There was dense fog in the region which was making conditions difficult for search teams, state media said, without giving a direct cause for the incident on Sunday. 

Finding the president’s helicopter “could take time” due to difficult weather conditions, Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi said on TV. An aerial search was “impossible” Iranian TV said. 

Raisi, an ultraconservative cleric in his 60s who won Iran’s presidential election in 2021, has been seen as a favorite to eventually succeed Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is the Islamic Republic’s top authority. 

The incident comes at a time of great turmoil in the Middle East over the war in Gaza between Israel and Iran-backed Hamas. It has edged Iran and Israel close to all-out conflict and led to other Tehran-supported groups, including the Houthis in Yemen and Shiite militias in Iraq, to attack US bases and commercial ships in the Red Sea.

Raisi’s air fleet consisted of three helicopters with high-ranking officials including Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported. Amirabdollahian was believed to be on board Raisi’s aircraft at the time. 

State television broadcast live footage from the country’s holy shrine in the northeastern city of Mashhad, Raisi’s birthplace, showing pilgrims praying for Raisi. Others believed to be on board Raisi’s helicopter included the governor of East Azerbaijan province and the supreme leader’s representative in the city of Tabriz, Iranian media said. 

Both Raisi and Amirabdollahian oversaw the restoration of Iran’s diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia through a Chinese-brokered deal announced in March 2023. But it was a time when there was also saw a stalemate in negotiations to revive Iran’s nuclear deal with world power and lift economic sanctions. 

Earlier Sunday, Raisi met his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev to inaugurate a jointly developed dam on the border between the two countries. The incident occurred while Raisi was returning from Iran’s East Azerbaijan province.

Raisi’s ascension to the presidency came after eight years under the relative moderate Hassan Rouhani, who was central to the nuclear accord that former President Donald Trump withdrew the US from in 2018. 

The US exit from the deal empowered Iran’s hardliners, who were always critical of the agreement. Raisi was sanctioned in 2019 by the Trump administration, which cited his role in a deadly crackdown a decade earlier on protesters alleging vote fraud.

During his presidential election campaign he received support from the highest levels of Iran’s religious and military establishment, and put all of Iran’s state institutions and levers of power in the hands of hardliners.

Raisi’s First Vice President is Mohammad Mokhber, who has represented Iran on recent overseas trips and who like many senior Iranian officials is subject to US sanctions. 

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