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Iran in mourning after the death of President Raïssi

Photo: Vahid Salemi Associated Press Thousands of mourners gathered in Valiasr Square in Tehran on Monday to pay tribute to President Ebrahim Raïssi, as well as Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

Ahmad Parhizi – Agence France-Presse and Jérôme Rivet – Agence France-Presse in Tehran

Published yesterday at 8:02 a.m. Updated yesterday at 7:33 p.m.

  • Middle East

Iran declared five days of mourning on Monday to pay tribute to its president, Ebrahim Raïssi, who died in a helicopter crash three years after the coming to power of this ultraconservative, who was considered to be one of the favorites to succeed the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei.

The death of Mr. Raisi at age 63 opens a period of political uncertainty in Iran, at a time when the Middle East is shaken by the war between Israel and Palestinian Hamas, an ally of the Islamic Republic.

His sudden death will lead to a presidential election which must be organized “within 50 days”. It will take place on June 28, according to state television. In the meantime, First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber, a 68-year-old shadowy man, will serve as interim president.

Elected president in 2021, Ebrahim Raïssi was considered one of the favorites to succeed the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, aged 85, for whom “the Iranian nation lost a sincere and precious servant”.

Iran in mourning after the death of President Raïssi

Photo: Adem Altan Agence France-Presse Ebrahim Raïssi

Thousands of mourners gathered at Valiasr Square in central Tehran to pay their respects to Ebrahim Raisi, as well as Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, 60, also died in the crash.

Mr. Mokhber appointed the chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Bagheri, 56, as interim head of diplomacy.

Among the nine passengers on the helicopter Also included were the governor of East Azerbaijan province, the region's main imam, as well as the president's security chief and three crew members.

The funeral will begin Tuesday in Tabriz, the large city in the northwest of the country, and a funeral procession will take place Wednesday morning in Tehran, according to authorities.

“True friend”

The president's helicopter disappeared Sunday afternoon while flying over a steep and forested region of Iran in difficult weather conditions, with rain and thick fog.

The wreckage was discovered at dawn on the side of a mountain that he hit for a reason still unknown, according to media reports.

On Monday morning, emergency services recovered the remains scattered among the debris of the The aircraft, a Bell 212.

The chief of staff of the armed forces, Mohammad Bagheri, ordered an investigation into the cause of the crash, according to the 'ISNA press agency.

The Turkish Transport Minister claimed that the helicopter did not have a “signaling system”, or that it was malfunctioning when it crashed.

Ankara , who deployed a Turkish Akinci drone in the crash zone on Sunday evening, claimed that his device made it possible to locate the wreckage of the helicopter, discovered in north-west Iran.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared a national day of mourning on Monday as many countries sent messages of condolences and the UN Security Council observed a minute of silence.

Russian President Vladimir Putin paid tribute to a “remarkable politician” and a “true friend” of Russia. His death is a “great loss for the Iranian people,” said Chinese President Xi Jinping.

France, the European Union, NATO and Iran's Arab neighbors in the Gulf presented their condolences for the death of President Raïssi.

Sworn enemy of Iran, Washington presented its “official condolences” in a statement from the State Department, whose spokesperson Matthew Miller also indicated that Tehran had requested assistance from the States after the crushing. -United States, which was unable to do so “primarily for logistical reasons.”

White House spokesman John Kirby, for his part affirmed that Raïssi was “a man who had a lot of blood on his hands” and who was “responsible for atrocious human rights violations” in Iran.

“No disturbance”

Mr. Raïssi, who had the title of ayatollah, was considered an ultraconservative. He was elected on June 18, 2021 in the first round of a vote marked by a record abstention for a presidential election and the absence of strong competitors.

Toujours coiffed in his black turban and dressed in a long religious cloak, he succeeded the moderate Hassan Rouhani, who had beaten him in the 2017 presidential election.

He was supported by the main authority of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who on Sunday called on “the Iranian people” to “not worry” because “there will be no disruption in the administration of the country “.

Last pro-Palestinian message

Raïssi surrendered on Sunday in the province of East Azerbaijan, where he notably inaugurated a dam in the company of the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliev, on the border between the two countries.

During a press conference, he once again supported Hamas against Israel. “We believe that Palestine is the first issue of the Muslim world,” he said.

In a message of condolences, Hamas welcomed “support for Palestinian resistance.”

Iran launched an unprecedented attack on April 13 against Israel, with 350 drones and missiles, most of which were intercepted with the help of United States and several other allied countries.

Mr. Raïssi emerged strengthened from the legislative elections in March, the first national election since the protest movement which shook Iran at the end of 2022 following the death of the young Mahsa Amini, arrested for non-compliance with the strict dress code of the Islamic Republic.

Born in November 1960, Mr. Raïssi spent most of his career in the judicial system, notably being prosecutor general of Tehran and then prosecutor general of the country, positions where his reputation for firmness towards “enemies” was built. of the Islamic Republic.

Mr. Raisi was on the American blacklist of Iranian officials sanctioned by Washington for “complicity in serious human rights violations”, accusations dismissed as null and void by Tehran.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116