Helicopter carrying Iran’s President Raisi makes rough landing, Iranian media say


DUBAI: A helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his foreign minister made a rough landing on Sunday (May 19) as it was crossing a mountainous area in heavy fog on the way back from a visit to Azerbaijan, Iranian news agencies said.

The bad weather was complicating rescue efforts, the state news agency IRNA reported. The semi-official Fars news agency urged Iranians to pray for Raisi and state TV carried prayers for his safety.

IRNA said the helicopter in question had been carrying Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and local officials.

Interior Minister Ahmed Vahidi told state TV only that one of the helicopters in a group of three had come down hard, and that authorities were awaiting further details.

Raisi, 63, was elected president at the second attempt in 2021, and since taking office has ordered a tightening of morality laws, overseen a bloody crackdown on anti-government protests and pushed hard in nuclear talks with world powers.

In Iran’s dual political system, split between the clerical establishment and the government, it is the supreme leader rather than the president who has the final say on all major policies.

But many see Raisi as a strong contender to succeed his mentor, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has strongly endorsed Raisi’s main policies.



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