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Iranian president

Iranian president, foreign minister dead in helicopter crash

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was killed in a helicopter crash in the country’s northwestern East Azerbaijan province on Sunday, Iranian state media confirmed on Monday morning.

Raisi was a fanatical hardliner responsible for the imprisonment of tens of thousands of Iranians, including Christian believers, and the brutal crackdown on women protesting for rights. He is also known as the “Butcher of Tehran” for his role in the 1988 execution of 30,000 political prisoners, was elected president in 2021. The hardline leader has repeatedly called for the destruction of the State of Israel.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and several regional officials were also killed, along with the pilot and co-pilot.

An Israeli official told Reuters that the Jewish state was not involved in the incident, saying that “it wasn’t us.” There was no official reaction from Jerusalem.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei confirmed on Monday that First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber would temporarily take charge of the executive branch and has up to 50 days to hold elections, Tehran’s official IRNA reported.

Khamenei also declared five days of national mourning.

The Iranian government appointed Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani as acting foreign minister.

Tehran’s announcement of the deaths came 16 hours after contact was lost with the helicopter. The Iranian Red Crescent reported after some 14 hours of searching that the helicopter’s remains had been located.

IRNA said rescuers arrived 30 minutes after the incident was reported and started their search on steep mountain sides during a snowstorm.

An Iranian official told Reuters that “President Raisi’s helicopter was completely burned in the crash. … unfortunately, all passengers are feared dead.”

Under Raisi’s despotic rule thousands of Christians have been imprisoned with many put to death for their conversion to Christianity from Islam.

JNS.org and news services

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