Iranian state media have confirmed that President Ebrahim Raisi was killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday in the northwestern province of East Azerbaijan. 
His entire entourage, including Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and Governor of East Azerbaijan Malek Rahmati, also perished.
The head of state had travelled to the border region after joining Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev on Saturday to inaugurate a dam. Raisi had pledged to visit each of Iran’s 30 provinces at least once a year and regularly travelled around the country.
Reports of a “crash landing” began circulating on Sunday afternoon, with Iranian state media citing Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi. The IRNA news agency reported dense fog in the mountainous area where the aircraft went down.
According to reports, Raisi was travelling in a US-made Bell 212. Low visibility and the impassibility of the area made search operations difficult.
Rescue teams finally managed to locate the crash site on Monday morning with the help of Turkish surveillance drones. 

The wreckage was discovered in a wooded area on a mountain slope. The aircraft was severely damaged and charred, and there were no signs of survivors, the Iranian Red Crescent Society said.
With Raisi’s passing, First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber is expected to take office as interim leader.
Raisi was born in Mashhad, in northeastern Iran, a religious hub for Shia Muslims. He underwent religious education and was trained at the seminary in Qom, studying under prominent scholars, including Ayatollah Khamenei.
Like the supreme leader, he wore a black turban, which signified that he was a sayyid—a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad—a status with particular significance among Twelver Shia Muslims.
A representative of the republic’s conservative wing, Raisi, was elected in 2021.
Before assuming the presidency, he had worked his way up from Prosecutor and Deputy Prosecutor in Tehran in the 1980s and 1990s all the way to attorney general and later chief justice.
Raisi has made many speeches since the start of the war on Gaza in October to condemn “genocide” and “massacres” committed by Israel against Palestinians and called on the international community to intervene.

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