Iran’s President and Foreign Minister Die in Helicopter Crash

Iranian state media declared President Ebrahim Raisi dead on May 20 following a helicopter crash in northern Iran. The crash killed eight people, including Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian, and three crew members aboard the flight.

Sunday’s initial search-and-rescue operations were disrupted by weather conditions in the mountainous terrain of Iran’s northwest region. No immediate cause for the crash was given, and the search continued overnight.

Countries including Russia, Qatar and Iraq expressed concern for Raisi and offered their assistance in the ongoing search. Early Monday, no survivors were found at the site of the helicopter crash.

The Iranian government held an emergency meeting after the public announcement of Raisi’s death. Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, named First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber as acting president and announced that five days of mourning would transpire in Iran. Under the country’s constitution, elections following the death of a president are mandated within 50 days.

Raisi was viewed as a potential successor for Khamenei’s position as Iran’s supreme leader. Khamenei stated that there would be “no disruption to the operations of the country” following Raisi’s death.

With the guarantee of an impending election, the candidates permitted to run will indicate whether or not Iran’s supreme leader is willing to risk a change of course in the country’s political establishment.