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Iran pays tribute to its late president

Photo: Ata Dadashi Moj News Agency via Agence France-Presse A crowd covered the main square, waving flags and portraits of the president and the seven victims.

Ahmad Parhizi – Agence France-Presse and Ramin Khanizadeh – Agence France-Presse Tehran

Posted at 7:18 a.m.

  • Middle East

Tens of thousands of mourning Iranians gathered Tuesday for the start of funeral ceremonies for President Ebrahim Raisi in Tabriz, capital of East Azerbaijan province where he died in the accident of his helicopter.

A huge crowd covered the city's main square, waving flags and portraits of the president who died at age 63 and the seven other victims, according to AFPTV footage.

The eight coffins covered with the Iranian flag were driven on a truck through the crowd.

Iran declared five days of mourning on Monday, and the The president's funeral will continue in the afternoon in the holy city of Qom, south of Tehran, Wednesday in the Iranian capital and Thursday in Mashhad (northeast), where he will be buried.

Speaking at the start of the ceremony, Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi paid tribute to the victims, considered “martyrs”.

“We, the members of the government, who have had the honor of serving this beloved president, this hardworking president, commit ourselves to our dear people and our leader to follow the path of these martyrs,” he said. -he declared.

Investigation into the accident

Mr. Raisi, who has presided over Iran since 2021, died in the crash of the helicopter taking him to Tabriz on Sunday after attending the joint inauguration of a dam with his Azeri counterpart, Ilham Aliyev, on their border commune.

Difficult search and rescue operations were carried out for a dozen hours in poor weather conditions in this steep and wooded region. The remains of the helicopter were discovered at dawn on Monday.

Armed Forces Chief of Staff Mohammad Bagheri on Monday ordered an investigation into the causes of the accident.

Among the eight people on board the plane were Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, 60, the governor of East Azerbaijan province, an imam and the head of the president's security team.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has tasked Vice President Mohammad Mokhber, 68, to serve as interim president, ahead of presidential election set for June 28.

Top Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri, who served as Amir-Abdollahian's deputy, was named minister of Foreign Affairs ad interim.

In addition, the Assembly of Experts, responsible for appointing, supervising and possibly dismissing the Supreme Leader, held its first session on Tuesday after having was elected in March.

For the occasion, two seats were left empty and decorated in black, those of Mr. Raïssi and Imam Mohammad Ali Al-Hashem, representative of Tabriz, who died in the accident.

Fifty-five of the 83 members present elected Ayatollah Ali Movahedi-Kermani, an octogenarian who has been a deputy and then a member of the assembly since the Islamic Revolution, as head of the assembly for two years of 1979, according to the Irna agency.

After the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988), Ayatollah Movahedi was the representative of the supreme leader within the Islamic Revolutionary Guards, the ideological army of the Islamic Republic, for 14 years.

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Buried Thursday

After the transfer to Tehran of the eight victims on Tuesday evening, Ayatollah Khamenei will preside over the prayers of the farewell ceremony on Wednesday, which will be a public holiday.

Then Raisi's remains will be taken Thursday morning to the province of South Khorasan, and his hometown, Mashhad, where he will be buried.

The ultra-conservative Raisi was considered one of the favorites to succeed 85-year-old Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

During the three years of his presidency, he faced a popular protest movement in 2022, an economic crisis worsened by American sanctions and a worsening of tensions with the sworn enemy Israel since the start of the war in the Gaza Strip in October.

The Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, the Lebanese Hezbollah and Syria, all allies of the Islamic Republic and claiming to be the axis of resistance against Israel, paid tribute to the late president.

Many other leaders, notably from Russia, China, the United States and the European Union, offered their condolences.

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