Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi Dies In Helicopter Crash

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi died in a helicopter crash on Sunday while returning from a visit to Azerbaijan, plunging the country into fresh uncertainty amid economic decline, popular discontent, and war. Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian also perished in the accident.

The helicopter carrying Raisi and other officials suffered a hard landing in poor weather conditions in Iran’s mountainous East Azerbaijan province, according to state media reports. Rescue teams struggled to locate the crash site due to the challenging terrain and low visibility.

Raisi, a hardline conservative elected in 2021 with the lowest voter turnout in Iranian history, was a harsh critic of the West and oversaw a violent crackdown on nationwide protests following the death of Mahsa Amini in September 2022. As a young prosecutor in Tehran in 1988, he was part of a panel that directed the executions of hundreds of political prisoners, as reported by Amnesty International.

The president’s death sets into motion a succession process that empowers current Vice President Mohammed Mokhber to assume the interim presidency and hold an election within the next 50 days.