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Iranian President Dead After Helicopter Crashes

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi

Update: 10:30 p.m., CDT – Iranian state media has reported that search and rescue teams have reached the scene of the helicopter crash and have found “no survivors,” according to CNN.

Update: 2:05 p.m., CDT – Red Crescent now denies reports of finding a helicopter, but search and rescue teams are close to the potential location. Crisis management commissioner Janez Lenarčič announced on X that the European Commission’s Copernicus Emergency Management Service was activating its “rapid response mapping service in view of the helicopter accident.” Reports indicate that the president is presumed dead.

Update: 1:30 p.m., CDT – Rescue teams in Iran have stated they found President Raisi’s helicopter. Iranian state media reported that the president’s helicopter accident took place in a rocky, foggy, and rainy area between Ardeshir and Brazin in Varzeghan province. 240 Red Crescent rescuers have been sent to the region.

Update: 12:30 p.m., CDT — The search for Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s helicopter is becoming increasingly challenging as nighttime temperatures drop, according to officials who spoke to state media. President Biden has been briefed on the reports of the helicopter carrying Iran’s president crashing, as confirmed by the White House.

BREAKING: Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian are reportedly presumed dead after a helicopter they were traveling in was involved in an accident on Sunday morning near the border of Azerbaijan.

Raisi and Abdollahian were purportedly making their way to Tabriz, one of the largest cities in Iran, when their helicopter made a “hard landing” between 70 and 100 kilometers away from the city, according to Al-Jazeera.

Local reporting also indicates that the governor of East Azerbaijan province was also on the helicopter when it crashed, per IntelliNews.

A massive search operation has begun for the helicopter, but it has struggled to yield results due to heavy fog in the area.

“The rescue and Red Crescent teams searching the area have not yet made contact with the individuals present in the helicopter due to rain and heavy fog. The rescue teams have not yet reached the crash site,” said Ahmad Alireza Beigi of the Red Cresent, per IntelliNews.

Iranian officials spoke with Reuters and said that ​​Raisi and Abdollahian’s lives were “at risk following the helicopter crash,” adding that they are “still hopeful but information coming from the crash site is very concerning.”

A spokesperson with the U.S. State Department said that the agency is monitoring the ongoing situation but did not provide any other comment or update regarding the incident, according to CBS News.

Many media outlets across Iran have reportedly stopped their regular programming and are showing prayers being held for the president and foreign minister across the region, per Reuters.

The Iranian constitution dictates that first vice president Mohammad Mokhber would assume the role of president in the event of the sudden death of the current president, per Al-Jazeera.

DX will continue to follow this story, and updates will be added.

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