Iran Live: President Raisi dead after helicopter crash President Ebrahim Raisi


    Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was killed after a helicopter crash on Sunday

    The wreckage was found after an overnight search

    He was a potential successor to Iran’s Supreme Leader

    Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian also died

    There was no official word on the cause of the crash

Iran’s three branches of government held an extraordinary meeting on Monday, Iran’s Judiciary news agency Mizan reported.

First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber represented the executive branch , following Raisi’s death. The other two are the legislative and judiciary.

“We will follow the path of President Raisi in fulfilling assigned duties without any interruption,” Mokhber said.

If a president dies in office, the Islamic Republic’s constitution says that the first vice president takes over for an interim period of 50 days, with the approval of the Supreme Leader.

A new presidential election would be held at the end of the 50 days.

FILE PHOTO: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, May 1, 2024. Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Handout via REUTERS

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei expressed his condolences for the ‘martyrdom’ of President Ebrahim Raisi and his companions, state media reported.

The helicopter went down in Varzeqan region north of Tabriz, state news agency IRNA reported, as Raisi returned from an official visit to the border with Azerbaijan in Iran’s northwest.

The dead also included the governor of East Azerbaijan Province and a senior imam from Tabriz city.

Rescue teams fought blizzards and difficult terrain through the night to reach the wreckage in the early hours of Monday.

Video showed a rescue team, wearing bright jackets and head torches, huddled around a GPS device as they searched a pitch-black mountainside on foot in a blizzard.

The national broadcaster had stopped all regular programming overnight to show prayers being held for Raisi across the country.

Read the full story by Parisa Hafezi.

Oil prices have extended gains amid political uncertainty in major producing countries after the death of Iran’s president and the cancellation of a trip to Japan by Saudi Arabia’s crown prince over health issues with his father King Salman.

Brent gained 41 cents, or 0.5%, to $84.39 a barrel by 0632 GMT, after rising to $84.43 earlier, its highest since May 10.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude for June edged up 23 cents to $80.29 a barrel, after hitting $80.35 earlier, the highest since May 1. The June contract expires on Tuesday and the more-active July contract was at $79.89, up 31 cents, or 0.4%.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was killed in a helicopter crash in mountainous terrain near the Azerbaijan border, officials and state media said on Monday.

Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman postponed his visit to Japan, scheduled to begin on Monday, due to a health issue with his father King Salman, said Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi.

Saudi Arabia’s state news agency on Sunday reported that 88-year-old King Salman will undergo treatment for lung inflammation.

First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber is expected to take over as interim president.

Mokhber, 68, is part of a three-person council, along with the speaker of parliament and the head of the judiciary, that will organise a new presidential election within 50 days of the president’s death.

Mokhber, like Raisi, is seen as being close to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who has the last say in all matters of state.

Mokhber became first vice president in 2021 when Raisi was elected president.

Read the full profile here.

If a president dies in office, article 131 of the Islamic Republic’s constitution says that the first vice president – who is Mohammad Mokhber – takes over, with the confirmation of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

A council consisting of the first vice president, the speaker of parliament and the head of the judiciary must arrange an election for a new president within a maximum period of 50 days.

Raisi was elected president in 2021 and, under the usual timetable, a presidential election had been due to take place in 2025.

Under constitutional rules, it can now be expected to take place by early July.

A helicopter carrying Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi takes off, near the Iran-Azerbaijan border, May 19, 2024. The helicopter with Raisi on board later crashed. Ali Hamed Haghdoust/IRNA/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS

Iran’s state news agency IRNA said Raisi was flying in a U.S.-made Bell 212 helicopter.

The civilian version of the ubiquitous Vietnam War-era UH-1N “Twin Huey,” it is in wide use globally by both governments and private operators, writes Gerry Doyle.


Bell Helicopter (now Bell Textron, a division of Textron Inc) developed the aircraft for the Canadian military in the late 1960s as an upgrade of the original UH-1 Iroquois.

The new design used two turboshaft engines instead of one, giving it greater carrying capacity. The helicopter was introduced in 1971 and quickly adopted by both the United States and Canada, according to U.S. military training documents.


As a utility helicopter – the UH in its military designation represents those words – the Bell 212 is meant to be adaptable to all sorts of situations, including carrying people, deploying aerial firefighting gear, ferrying cargo and mounting weapons.

The Iranian model that crashed on Sunday was configured to carry government passengers.

Read the full story here.


“With profound sadness and deep sorrow, we received the tragic news of the passing of the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ibrahim Raisi, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, and their companions, due to the unfortunate plane crash incident in northern Iran. We extend our heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, Ali Khamenei, and to the nation of Iran, its government and people. We express our solidarity with the brotherly Iranian people and the officials of the Islamic Republic during this painful tragedy.”


“Sincere condolences to the government and people of the Islamic Republic of Iran on the death of President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdullahian, and the accompanying officials in the painful helicopter accident, asking God Almighty for mercy and forgiveness for them and for their families with patience and solace. We belong to Allah and to Him we shall return.”


“I along with the government and people of Pakistan extend our deepest condolences and sympathies to the Iranian nation on this terrible loss. May the martyred souls rest in heavenly peace. The great Iranian nation will overcome this tragedy with customary courage.”

“Pakistan will observe a day of mourning and the flag will fly at half mast as a mark of respect for President Raisi and his companions and in solidarity with brotherly Iran.”


Hamas conveyed its “deepest condolences and solidarity” to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the Iranian government, and the Iranian people for “this immense loss.”

It praised the deceased Iranian leaders for supporting the Palestinian cause and resistance against Israel and expressed confidence that Iran’s “deep-rooted institutions” will enable it to overcome “the repercussions of this great loss.”


“Our deepest condolences to the Iranian people, the Iranian leadership, and the families of President Raisi and the accompanying delegation on their reported martyrdom. We ask God to grant their families patience and solace. Verily we belong to Allah and to Him we shall return. The Iranian people will remain adhering to the loyal leaders of their people, by God’s will.”


“Deeply saddened and shocked by the tragic demise of Dr. Seyed Ebrahim Raisi, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran. His contribution to strengthening India-Iran bilateral relationship will always be remembered. My heartfelt condolences to his family and the people of Iran. India stands with Iran in this time of sorrow.”

This post will be updated regularly, read the full reactions here.

FILE PHOTO: Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in June 12, 2023. REUTERS/Leonardo Fernandez Viloria

President Ebrahim Raisi, 63, who became president in 2021, ordered a tightening of morality laws and oversaw a bloody crackdown on anti-government protests, our colleague Dominic Evans reports.

He also pushed hard in nuclear talks with world powers.

A year after his election,he ordered tighter enforcement of Iran’s “hijab and chastity law” restricting women’s dress and behaviour.

Raisi had full backing for the nuclear stance and the security crackdown from his patron, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Within weeks, a young Kurdish Iranian woman, Mahsa Amini, died in custody after being arrested by morality police for allegedly violating that law.

The resulting months of nationwide protests presented one of the gravest challenges to Iran’s clerical rulers since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Hundreds of people were killed, according to rights groups, including dozens of security personnel who were part of a fierce crackdown on the demonstrators. “Acts of chaos are unacceptable,” the president insisted.

Search teams located the wreckage in East Azerbaijan province.

Rescue teams fought blizzards and difficult terrain through the night to reach the wreckage in the early hours of Monday.

An Iranian official told Reuters the helicopter carrying President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian was completely burned in Sunday’s crash.

“President Raisi, the foreign minister and all the passengers in the helicopter were killed in the crash,” the senior Iranian official told Reuters, asking not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.

State TV reported that images from the site showed the aircraft slammed into a mountain peak, although there was no official word on the cause of the crash.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi died when his helicopter crashed in mountainous terrain near the Azerbaijan border, Iran’s Mehr news agency said on Monday. Follow our live coverage here.

Text and video journalist, most recently in Ukraine and as bureau chief in Jerusalem. Stephen has reported from the Middle East, Iraq, South Asia, New York and UK. Previously worked at The New York Times and The Times of London. Co-author of the book ‘Hamas: The Islamic Resistance Movement’.

Anisha De is an Editor on the Digital Production desk in Bangalore, India. She oversees a team of journalists responsible for curating the website, Reuters social media handles and multimedia packages for Reuters Ready news clients. In her previous role, she worked as a News Publishing Specialist, curating news for clients on the Eikon platform and various financial newsletters.


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