Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi Attends Cabinet Meeting

Mourning Erupts In Iran As Helicopter Crash Claims The Life Of President Raisi

Home / News / Mourning Erupts In Iran As Helicopter Crash Claims The Life Of President Raisi

By Afouda Bamidele on May 20, 2024 at 9:15 AM EDT
Updated on May 20, 2024 at 9:46 AM EDT

Ebrahim Raisolsadati, best known as Ebrahim Raisi, the eighth president of Iran, has tragically died in a helicopter crash.

The Iranian politician, alongside the country's foreign minister and seven others, passed away on May 19. Their deaths shook the world, especially the Middle East, with several leaders expressing their condolences.

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Five Days Of Public Mourning Declared To Honor President Ebrahim Raisi's Passing

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi Attends Cabinet Meeting

In the wake of Raisi's death, Vice President Mohammad Mokhber was appointed acting president. However, Iran's Supreme Leader paid tribute to his predecessor, declaring five days of public mourning.

The mourning period recently kicked off with thousands of Iranians flooding the streets to pay tribute to President Raisi and his delegation.

As seen in a video shared on X, numerous citizens, most dressed in black, came out of their homes to bid their final farewells to the late politician.

The post's comment section received mixed reactions as not everyone mourned the former president. Conspiracy theorists claimed those in the video were celebrating Raisi's demise, with one writing:

"So much fake mourning in one place. Inside, they are smiling."

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Another agreed, writing, "80% are celebrating!" While a third argued, "I think you confused 'mourning' with 'celebrating.' I know Google Translate doesn't always get it right…"

Despite the criticisms, Raisi's supporters expressed their grief and hoped he would rest in peace.

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Foggy Conditions Reportedly Caused The Helicopter Crash

President Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, along with seven others, died after the helicopter they were traveling in crashed. According to CNN, the chopper went down in the country's remote northwest on Sunday due to foggy conditions.

Raisi was the second-most influential person in the Islamic Republic after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He became president in a historically uncompetitive election in 2021, which is why his loss is expected to impact the country significantly.

In the wake of his death, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, India, and the UAE leaders have expressed their condolences. Lebanon declared three days of mourning, while Russian President Vladimir Putin described Raisi as an "outstanding politician" in an emotional statement, writing:

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"As a true friend of Russia, he made an invaluable personal contribution to the development of good neighborly relations between our countries and made great efforts to bring them to the level of strategic partnership."

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Iran's Guardian Council Described The President's Death As 'A Great Loss'

Iranian supreme leader meets Iraqi Prime Minister

The spokesperson for Iran's Guardian Council — a powerful 12-member council in charge of overseeing elections and legislation — Hadi Tahan Nazif, described Raisi's death as "a great loss for the Iranian nation."

Nazif stressed that while Iranians mourn the loss of their president, the constitution has taken the necessary steps to control the situation. "Just as the leader of the Islamic Republic stated, the affairs of the country will not be disrupted," the spokesman declared.

Per Iran's constitution, Raisi's replacement will be announced in less than two months.

The law mandates that the three heads of the branches of government, including the vice president, speaker of the parliament, and head of the judiciary, must arrange for an election and elect a new leader within 50 days of assuming the role of acting president.

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, noted in a statement to state news agencies that acting president Mokhber will be responsible for organizing elections for a new president within that time.

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Iran Appoints Ali Bagheri Kani As Acting Foreign Minister

Ali Bagheri Kani has been appointed acting foreign minister after the former title holder, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, died in the helicopter crash with Raisi. His new post was announced by the state news agency IRNA, stating:

"Following the martyrdom of Hussein Amir Abdollahian, the Foreign Minister of our country, with the approval of the Cabinet Board, Ali Bagheri, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Foreign Affairs, was appointed as the acting minister of the ministry."

Kani is well-known as Iran's top negotiator and has reportedly led Iranian delegations through indirect negotiations with the United States over nuclear issues and prisoner exchanges.

The Late President's Body Will Be Moved To His Hometown

The Iranian president's body and the other victims of the helicopter crash will reportedly be transferred on Tuesday. The deceased will be moved from Tabriz to the northeastern city of Mashhad, where Raisi was born.

At 9 a.m. local time on Tuesday,  a large procession will accompany the bodies of Raisi and the other victims from Tabriz Martyr's Square to the city's airport. Then, they will be moved to their final destination in Mashhad.

The late president was born in Mashhad in 1960. He managed the influential charity Astan-e Quds-e Razavi, which runs the vast Imam Reza shrine, a prominent Islamic holy site in the city.

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