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No survivors found after helicopter carrying Iran’s president crashes, state media says

Search Under Way After Helicopter Carrying Iran’s President Raisi Crashes

Iran’s president and foreign minister are presumed dead after state media outlets reported that “no survivors” were found at the crash site of a helicopter carrying the two men and seven others.

The helicopter carrying President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian ran into trouble amid heavy fog while returning from a trip to the Iran-Azerbaijan border, Iranian officials said Sunday.

No official announcement of their deaths has yet been made.

Drone footage of the wreckage taken by the Red Crescent and carried on state media FARS News Agency showed the crash site on a steep, wooded hillside in northern Iran, with little remaining of the helicopter beyond a blue and white tail.

Pir-Hossein Kolivand, head of the Iranian Red Crescent, said there are no signs of life of those traveling on board the helicopter, according to Iranian state news IRIB.

Reuters news agency also cited an unnamed Iranian official as saying all passengers are feared dead.

The crash prompted an hours-long search-and-rescue operation with assistance from the European Union and Turkey among others, but emergency crews were hampered by the fog and plummeting temperatures.

The potential loss of Raisi — a hardliner who was widely seen as Iran’s next Supreme Leader — is expected to sow further chaos in a country already buckling under significant economic and political strain, with tensions with nearby Israel at a dangerous high.

The incident comes at a sensitive time domestically for Tehran and seven months into Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza that has sent tensions soaring throughout the Middle East and brought a decades long shadow war between Israel and Iran out into the open.

Last month Iran launched an unprecedented drone and missile attack on Israel — its first ever direct attack on the country — in response to a deadly apparent Israeli airstrike on Iran’s consulate in Damascus.

Iran’s hardline leadership has faced significant challenges in recent years, convulsed by youth-led demonstrations against clerical rule and grim economic conditions. Iranian authorities have launched a widening crackdown on dissent since nationwide protests broke out over the 2022 death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of Iran’s notorious morality police.

By CNN

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