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Iran’s President dies in helicopter crash, Vice President will take interim charge: Khamenei

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on Monday handed over the interim charge to Vice President Mohammad Mokhbar, after the death of President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash was confirmed a day earlier.

Iranian state media confirmed earlier today that Raisi, 63, his Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash in a mountainous region of the country’s East Azerbaijan province on Sunday, a day earlier.

Meanwhile, the Iranian cabinet has appointed Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani as acting foreign minister following the death of Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

In a message issued Monday morning, Khamenei expressed deep sorrow over the deaths and expressed condolences to his countrymen.

Vice President Mohammad Mokhbar is expected to assume interim charge soon.

“According to Article 131 of the constitution, Mokhbar is in charge of leading the executive branch,” Khamenei said in a statement. He said Mokhbar would have to work with legislative and judicial heads to prepare for presidential elections “within a maximum period of 50 days”.

Earlier today, Iranian state media IRNA shared drone footage shot by the Red Crescent, showing the wreckage of the crashed helicopter.

News outlet Tasnim, which is affiliated with the country’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, reported that Raisi’s funeral would be held in Tabriz tomorrow.

Kani has served as deputy foreign minister since September 2021, Al Jazeera reported.

Additionally, he was the deputy secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council between 2007 and 2013, Al Jazeera reported.

The helicopter carrying Raisi, Foreign Minister Amir-Abdullahian and their accompanying delegation crashed a day earlier in the Dizmar forest, located between the cities of Varzakan and Jolfa in East Azerbaijan province, state media Press TV reported today.

The Iranian president was returning after a visit to Azerbaijan when his helicopter crashed due to bad weather.

According to IRNA, Iran’s supreme leader described Raisi as a hard-working cleric and a popular president who dedicated his life to serving the people of Iran, the country and Islam.

Khamenei said, “In this bitter tragedy, the Iranian nation lost a warm-hearted, humble and valuable servant.” He said that despite facing criticism, President Raisi never stopped working hard and round the clock for the people of Iran. From well wishers.

Additionally, the Iranian supreme leader also expressed grief over the death of other senior officials who were accompanying President Raisi in the helicopter crash in East Azerbaijan, including Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, Tabriz Friday prayer leader and provincial governor.

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