Thousands attend funeral prayers for President Ebrahim Raisi and others

Mourners carry the coffin of President Seyyed Embrahim Raisi, who died in a helicopter crash along with Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, East Azerbaijan Governor Malek Rahmati and the Supreme Leader's representative Ali Ale-Hashem. — Embassy of Iran
  • Iran is in mourning after the deadly crash of its helicopter.
  • After the procession, a funeral prayer was held at the University of Tehran.
  • The Hamas chief also attended Raisi's funeral prayers.

TEHRAN: The funeral prayer of late Iranian President Seyyed Embrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and other senior officials was led by the Islamic Republic's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran today.

Iranian media said Hamas leader in Qatar, Ismail Haniyeh, also attended the funeral prayer. Haniyeh conveyed his condolences to Iran's leaders on the death of President Raisi and others on behalf of Palestinian resistance groups.

The funeral prayer was held three days after the president's helicopter crashed while crossing mountainous terrain in dense fog in the Varzaghan region of Iran's East Azerbaijan province on Sunday after they returned from an opening ceremony for a dam near the country's border with Azerbaijan.

“The bodies of President Raisi and his companions were flown to Tehran's Mehrabad Airport on Tuesday after a funeral in the northwestern city of Tabriz,” according to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

Among the Iranian president's companions were the representative of the Supreme Leader, Ali Ale-Hashem, the governor of East Azerbaijan, Malek Rahmati, two bodyguards, two pilots and a crew member.

All passengers, including Raisi, were pronounced dead when the charred remains of the Bell 212 helicopter were found early Monday after an overnight search in blizzard conditions.

A day earlier, Iran launched an investigation into the helicopter crash and the Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, Major General Mohammad Bagheri, constituted an investigative committee headed by Brigadier Ali Abdollahi. It was reported that the results of the investigation into the incident would be made public.

Iran is currently observing a period of mourning following the accident.

“The weather was fine when the helicopter took off”

Ghulam Hussain Ismaili, an officer who was part of the president's entourage traveling in one of the two surviving helicopters, said the president's pilot was in charge of the convoy of the three helicopters.

“The weather was good when the helicopters took off after the opening of the dam, but 45 minutes into the flight, the presidential pilot asked to fly high to avoid the clouds,” he said.

He added that President Raisi's helicopter was in the middle of the other two helicopters and 30 seconds later the pilot of Ismaili's helicopter noticed that the president's helicopter had disappeared.

“Our helicopter circled, looking for the president's helicopter. Due to the presence of clouds, our helicopter continued to fly high. Our pilot continued flying, landing the helicopter in a nearby copper mine,” he mentioned.

He revealed that they tried to make phone calls to the Foreign Minister, the president's bodyguard and the helicopter pilot, Captain Mustafavi, but got no response. However, Imam Ale-Hashem received a call and said that the presidential helicopter had met with an accident.

“I called Ale-Hashem and he also told me that the helicopter had crashed in the valley,” he said.

Ismaili added that after observing the bodies of the helicopter's passengers, it was obvious that the president and other officials had died on the spot, while Ale-Hashem died several hours after the crash.

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