Iranians mourn president killed in helicopter crash

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

TEHRAN: Tens of thousands mourned Iran´s president Ebrahim Raisi on Tuesday after his death in a helicopter crash, amid political uncertainty ahead of an election for his successor next month.

Raisi and seven members of his entourage including foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian were killed when their aircraft came down on a fog-shrouded mountainside in northern Iran on Sunday.

Waving Iranian flags and portraits of the late president, mourners marched in the northwestern city of Tabriz, where Raisi´s helicopter had been headed when it crashed.

Black-clad mourners beat their chests as they walked behind a lorry carrying the coffins of Raisi and those who died with him.

“We, the members of the government, who had the honour to serve this beloved president, the hardworking president, pledge to our dear people and leader to follow the path of these martyrs,” Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi said in a speech.

From Tabriz, Raisi´s body was taken to Qom on Tuesday before being moved to Tehran, where huge banners hailing him as “the martyr of service” have appeared around the city.

In Qom, the procession moved toward the city´s main shrine of Massoumeh as mourners waved the red flag and the yellow flag of the Iran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah group.

The official IRNA news agency said the funerals in Iran were attended by “hundreds of thousands” of people.

Over pictures of Raisi and as a voice recited Quranic verses, the broadcaster said “the servant of the Iranian nation, Ayatollah Ebrahim Raisi, has achieved the highest level of martyrdom”.