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Iran President killed in helicopter crash

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WORLD (ABC NEWS)– Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi, along with the country’s foreign minister and others, were found dead Monday morning hours after their helicopter crashed in dense fog in a mountainous region of the country’s northwest, state media reported. Raisi was 63.

The crash comes at a hugely tumultuous time for the Middle East amid the Israel-Hamas war, during which Raisi, under Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, launched an unprecedented drone-and-missile attack on Israel just last month. Under Raisi, Iran has enriched uranium closer than ever to weapons-grade levels, further escalating tension with the West as Tehran also supplied bomb-carrying drones to Russia for its war in Ukraine and continued arming proxy groups in the Mideast such as Yemen’s Houthi rebels and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

Raisi was also in power through years of major protests against Iran’s ruling Shiite Muslim theocracy, of which he was a key member, over the country’s ailing economy and women’s rights.

All of those factors make the moment more sensitive for Tehran and the future of the country, but Iranians were quickly reassured that life would go on as it has by the country’s real top power, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Under the Islamic republic’s system of governance, the president and all other officials report to the real decision maker, Khamenei, who at 85 has ruled over the country since 1989.

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