Helicopter carrying Iran’s president weathered a “hard landing,” and is unable to be found

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s helicopter suffered a “hard landing” on Sunday, Iranian media reported. While none of the media reports provided specific details, some like Iran’s Fras News Agency urged the public to pray for Raisi and his fellow passengers, including Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and the governor of Iran’s East Azerbaijan province. 

While rescue crews are on their way to where they believe the helicopter crashed in a rural forest, the adverse weather conditions, including heavy fog, are slowing down the search for the missing helicopter, Al Jazeera reported.

A local government official described the incident using the word “crash,” but told an Iranian newspaper he hadn’t been to the site to confirm this, AP News reported.

Before the helicopter “crash,” Raisi was at the inauguration ceremony of Qiz Qalasi, the third dam jointly built by Iran and Azerbaijan on the Aras River. The Iranian president met with his Azeri counterpart Ilham Aliyev ahead of the ceremony.

State TV claims that the incident occurred near Jolfa, a city bordering the nation of Azerbaijan, about 375 miles northwest of the Iranian capital Tehran. Later reports claim that it might be further east, near a village called Uzi. 

If the Iranian president does suffer a sudden death, the country’s constitution dictates that the first vice president, who is currently Mohammad Mokhber, will become president with the approval of the supreme leader. In the Iranian political hierarchy, the head of state is Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei while the president is considered the head of the government or second in command.

Once the vice president takes charge, the country will have 50 days to hold an election for the new president.  


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