Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, The ‘Butcher Of Tehran,’ Killed In Helicopter Crash

In this photo provided by Moj News Agency, rescue teams members carry the body of a victim after a helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi crashed in Varzaghan, northwestern Iran, Monday, May 20, 2024. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, the country’s foreign minister and others have been found dead at the site of a helicopter crash after an hours-long search through a foggy, mountainous region of the country’s northwest, state media reported. (Azin Haghighi, Moj News Agency via AP)
In this photo provided by Moj News Agency, rescue teams members carry the body of a victim after a helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi crashed in Varzaghan, northwestern Iran, Monday, May 20, 2024. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, the country’s foreign minister and others have been found dead at the site of a helicopter crash after an hours-long search through a foggy, mountainous region of the country’s northwest, state media reported. (Azin Haghighi, Moj News Agency via AP)

OAN’s James Meyers
8:48 AM – Monday, May 20, 2024

Iran’s president, Ebrahim Raisi, was killed in a helicopter crash in a remote region of the country on Sunday, multiple officials and state media announced. 

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The “Butcher of Tehran,” his foreign minister, and other passengers were found dead after rescuers discovered the crash site on Monday. 

According to state news agency Mehr, “all passengers of the helicopter carrying the Iranian president and foreign minister were martyred.”

Raisi was the second-most powerful person in the Islamic Republic after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. 

Meanwhile, Iran’s first vice president, Mohammad Mokhber, has now been officially named as acting president. Top negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani has been appointed acting foreign minister.

A senior Iranian official confirmed that Raisi was killed in the crash after state media reported there was “no sign of life” at the helicopter’s crash site. 

“President Raisi, the foreign minister and all the passengers in the helicopter were killed in the crash,” the senior Iranian official told Reuters.

The Iranian president’s helicopter was found early on Monday morning in a mountainous area about 12 hours after it went down in hazardous weather. 

Raisi had been traveling home with Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and other local officials through torrential clouds and dense fog after visiting Azerbaijan.

State media reported the aircraft experienced a “hard landing” and that initial rescue efforts were stalled due to severe wind and fog and the region’s terrain landscape. Additionally, Raisi was flying a U.S.-made Bell 212 helicopter at the time of the crash, state media reported. 

Iran’s official news agency INRA said Raisi was traveling with a fleet of choppers when his helicopter went down near the city of Jolfa, which is almost 375 miles northwest of Tehran. 

Reuters also reported that the helicopter was “completely burned” after its crash. 

Meanwhile, condolences were sent out from Iran’s allies, which included the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan, Iraq, and Pakistan.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called Raisi “a true friend of Russia,” while Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that he was “deeply shocked and saddened.”

Under Iranian law, Mokhber will be president for a custodial period of 50 days, then an election must be held to choose Raisi’s successor. 

Iranian state TV stopped regular entertainment programming after news of the crash was released. Instead, a broadcast of mass gatherings around the country of those showing support was played to its citizens, praising Raisi’s legacy. 

Just days after Iran sent multiple missiles and drones against Israel that failed, Raisi threatened the Jewish State, warning that it would receive a “massive and harsh” response if Israel retaliates. He also warned that if Iran had wanted to carry out a bigger attack, “nothing would remain of the Zionist regime.”

However, an Israeli official denied that his country had any involvement with the crash.

In 2021, Raisi won the country’s presidential election, which was the lowest turnout election in the Islamic Republic’s history.

He was sanctioned by the U.S. in part over his involvement in the mass execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988, known as the “death committee” at the end of the deadly Iran-Iraq war. 

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