Monday, May 20, 2024

Iran’s governing institutions will be tested, again, upon the death of the president in a crash of the presidential helicopter

    Monday, May 20, 2024   No comments

Iran is no stranger to situations where the holder of the top executive branch of government is vacated. Twice since 1979 and Iranian head of the executive branch was removed or killed and the Iranian government continued to function, and perhaps even more efficiently with every event. On 30 August 1981 a bomb exploded in the office of Mohammad Javad Bahonar, also killed multiple government officials including Prime Minister of Iran, Javad Bahonar, President Mohammad Ali Rajai and some other officials. Before the 50 days have passed, Ali Khamenei was elected President of Iran by a landslide vote (97%) in the October 1981 Iranian presidential election in which only four candidates were approved by the Council of Guardians. Khamenei became the first cleric to be in the office and he went on to become Iran’s supreme leader, a position he still holds.

This time, too, Iranian institutions went to work, with the first vice president taking over as acting president and setting up a process to elect the next president within 50 days. The elected president will serve a full four year term since Raisi’s term were to expire in August 2025. Meanwhile, determining the cause of the crash is made a national security priority with multiple investigations ordered to take place.


Major General Mohammad Bagheri, Chief of the General Staff of the Islamic Republic of Iran Army, on May 20 ordered to investigate the incident of the helicopter crash a day earlier in the northwest of Iran that killed President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and several officials. It's time to research.

 According to ISNA, Bagheri "assigned a high-ranking delegation to investigate the dimensions and causes of the president's helicopter crash". According to ISNA, this investigation is headed by Major General Ali Abdullahi, Deputy Coordinator of the General Staff of the Armed Forces.

 Javad Zarif, the former foreign minister of Iran, in a phone conversation with state media on Monday, referring to Washington's sanctions against Tehran's aviation program, blames the United States for the plane crash.

 Zarif said: One of the causes of this tragic incident is America, which embargoed the sale of the aviation industry to Iran.

 Stating that US sanctions prevent Iran from maintaining suitable aviation facilities, he said: "The plane crash will be recorded in the black list of US crimes against the Iranian nation."

 The 45-year-old American-made Bell 212 helicopter carrying the Iranian president, foreign minister and delegation was likely purchased by the Shah of Iran - an ally of the US and Israel - before the 1979 revolution that saw the establishment of the Islamic Republic. .

 US sanctions against Iran prevent the country from buying spare parts to maintain its fleet of civilian aircraft, most of which are more than two decades old.

 The sudden death of Raisi and Amir Abdollahian has prompted social media users and observers to speculate about Israel's involvement in the plane crash.

 "It wasn't us," an unnamed Israeli official told Reuters on May 20. There has been no official statement from Israel yet.

 Iran announced early on May 20 that Raisi, Amir Abdullahian and their companions were killed in a helicopter crash the previous day.

After 16 hours of search operations on Sunday and early Monday morning, the Iranian Red Crescent finally reached the wreckage of the helicopter crash and announced in a preliminary statement that "no signs of life" were found at the site.

World reacts

Condolences for the martyrdom of Raisi and his companions continue... and the United Nations lowers its flags in mourning

Arab and international condolences and messages of sympathy to the leadership and people of the Islamic Republic of Iran continued, following the martyrdom of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian, and those accompanying them in the plane crash in which they were carrying, while performing their work duty in northwest Iran.

Arabic condolences

In the Arab world, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad offered his condolences, in his name and in the name of the Syrian people, to the leader of the revolution and the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mr. Ali Khamenei, and to the Iranian government and people, for the martyrdom of President Ibrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian and their comrades.

In his message, President Al-Assad affirmed Syria's solidarity with the Islamic Republic of Iran and with the families of the late deceased and his comrades, expressing deep regret and condolences for this painful incident and the great loss that resulted from it.

He said, "President Raisi's dedication to his work and fulfillment of his responsibilities led him to East Azerbaijan Province to inaugurate a vital project for his country, making him a martyr in the redemption of duty."

He added: "We worked with the late president to ensure that the strategic relations between Syria and Iran would always remain prosperous, and we will always remember his visit to Syria as an important milestone in this path, and all the visions and ideas that he presented to enrich relations with everything that would benefit the Syrian and Iranian peoples."

For his part, the leader of the Ansar Allah movement in Yemen, Mr. Abdul-Malik Al-Houthi, sent a condolence telegram on the martyrdom of Raisi, Amir Abdullahian and their companions, sending condolences and sympathy to all their relatives and loved ones, to Mr. Khamenei and officials in the Islamic Republic and to the Iranian people.

The head of the Supreme Political Council in Yemen, Mahdi Al-Mashat, also offered his condolences to the Leader of the Revolution and the Islamic Republic, Mr. Ali Khamenei, and the Iranian people, saying that the martyr Raisi “was an example of a brave Muslim leader loyal to the nation’s issues and keen to achieve its aspirations,” as he “was keen to reunite the nation and unify positions and bridging the gaps between them.

The office of the authority, Sayyed Ali al-Sistani, offered condolences for the martyrdom of the Iranian president and his companions, saying: “We received with sadness and regret the news of the passing of Hujjat al-Islam wal-Muslimeen, Mr. Ibrahim Raisi and his companions.”

The Iraqi Fatwa House also extends its sincere condolences to Mr. Khamenei on the martyrdom of Mr. Raisi and his brothers.

From Algeria, the President of the Republic, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, offered his deepest condolences and sincere feelings of sympathy to Iran’s leadership and people, saying: “In this difficult circumstance in which the Algerian people share this cruel ordeal with their brothers in Iran, I personally lose in Commander Ibrahim Raisi, a brother and partner with whom I was united by service.” “The bonds of brotherhood, cooperation and solidarity between our two brotherly countries and peoples, and support for the just causes that our Islamic nation has adopted and carried the banner of defending and sacrificing for.”

 Simultaneously, the Saudi News Agency reported that Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman offered condolences to Iran after the martyrdom of the president and foreign minister.

Likewise, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas offered his deepest condolences to the Iranian government and people on the martyrdom of the Iranian president and his comrades.

The Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, expressed, via the “X” platform, his sincere condolences to the government and people of the Islamic Republic of Iran on the martyrdom of President Ebrahim Raisi, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the delegation accompanying them.

The President of the Emirates, Mohammed bin Zayed, expressed his sincere condolences to the government and people of Iran, stressing his country’s solidarity with it in this difficult time.

Egypt mourned my president, Amir Abdullahian, and their companions, as President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi offered his sincere condolences and sympathy to the Iranian people, expressing his country’s solidarity with the Iranian leadership and people in this great affliction.

The United Nasserite Movement in the Republic of Egypt offered its sincere condolences to the Islamic Republic of Iran, and to all those holding “the embers of resistance to the Zionist entity and its supporters,” stressing its confidence in the Iranian people and their leadership to overcome this difficult ordeal just as Iran has overcome other ordeals and difficulties, “so that Iran will always remain a support for the resistance and a strong figure.” In the face of Western imperialism and its spearhead.”

The Sheikh of Al-Azhar, Ahmed Al-Tayeb, mourned the Iranian President and Foreign Minister, offering his sincere condolences to the Iranian people.

 For his part, the Secretary-General of the Arab National Conference, Hamdeen Sabahi, telegraphed his condolences to Mr. Khamenei, saying, “The loss of President Raisi is not for Iran alone, but rather it is a loss for the Arab and Islamic nations.”

Sabahi pointed out that the role played by Mr. Raisi and Minister Amir Abdollahian in purifying Arab-Iranian relations is “a must to confront the enemies of our nation.”

For his part, Jordanian King Abdullah II expressed his solidarity with Iran in this difficult circumstance, while the Jordanian Communist Party affirmed that Iran’s position, represented by Mr. Raisi and Minister Amir Abdullahian, “is an essential foundation in supporting the Palestinian people and their just cause.”

In turn, the Tunisian presidency offered its condolences to Iran, expressing its solidarity with the Iranian leadership and people in this great affliction, while the Tunisian Ennahda Movement offered the Iranian people and the Iranian leadership its sincerest condolences and sincere expressions of sympathy.

From the Sultanate of Oman, Sultan Haitham bin Tariq sent a telegram of condolence and sympathy to Mr. Khamenei following the plane crash.

Internationally, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in a message of condolence to Iran, expressed his deep sadness over the passing of President Raisi, saying: “We have lost an exemplary person and an exceptional leader in the world.”

Maduro added: “As he was our brother... President Raisi will always remain an excellent human being, a defender of the sovereignty of his people, and an unconditional friend of our country,” stressing that Iran “will remain an example of dignity, morality, and resistance.”

In turn, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, condoling the Iranian president's martyrdom, that "Raisi made an invaluable contribution to Russian-Iranian relations," adding: "I will forever preserve a bright memory of President Raisi and I wish the Iranian people spiritual fortitude in the face of this difficult loss."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also said, “The role of President Raisi and the Iranian Foreign Minister in strengthening cooperation between Moscow and Tehran was too great to evaluate,” adding: “We will always remember Raisi, the Iranian Foreign Minister and the people who accompanied them as true patriots of their country.”

Likewise, the Cuban President, Miguel Díaz-Canel, expressed his country's deep sadness over the loss of a great friend and politician who is appreciated and beloved by his people, such as the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi, his Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, and their comrades, stressing Cuba's "solidarity and support with the sister Islamic Republic of Iran." .

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez, in turn, offered his deepest condolences on the passing of President Raisi and Foreign Minister Amir Abdullahian.

As for Chinese President Xi Jinping, he expressed his condolences over the martyrdom of the Iranian President and Foreign Minister in the helicopter crash.

For its part, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry said regarding the crash of the Iranian president’s helicopter, that what happened was “a loss not only for Iranian society, as the true friends of Belarus have departed.”

Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also expressed his sincere condolences and sympathy to Iran for this terrible loss, declaring a day of mourning in his country for the Iranian president.

Also, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev offered his condolences on the Iranian president's martyrdom, saying that "Iran has lost a prominent politician who spent his life serving his country and being loyal to it."

The President of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon, in turn, cabled his condolences to the Iranian leadership and people for the martyrdom of Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi and his companions.

As for the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, he expressed his sadness and shock over the “tragic death of President Raisi,” stressing that “India stands with Iran in this time of grief.”

From Turkey, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan offered his condolences to Iran, saying: “I remember my brother, my president, with all respect and gratitude, and I confirm that we stand by sister Iran,” while the Turkish Foreign Minister confirmed that there was “close coordination with the Iranian authorities after the incident.”

Likewise, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, said that the European Union “expresses its sincere condolences on the death of President Raisi and Foreign Minister Abdullahian in the helicopter accident.”

Paris offered its condolences to the Islamic Republic of Iran and to the families of the martyrs in the plane crash, according to a statement issued by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday.

Polish President Andrzej Duda also expressed his deep emotion over the martyrdom of a key figure with his government delegation. “We Poles, who suffered terribly in 2010 from the crash of a Polish government plane in Smolensk, Russia, know the feeling of shock and emptiness that remains in the hearts of the people and in the country after the sudden loss of the political and social elite,” Duda said.

As for the Swiss Foreign Minister, Ignazio Cassis, he offered his condolences to the families of all the martyrs and to the Iranian people.

Countries continue to extend their condolences to the Islamic Republic of Iran over the martyrdom of its President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian, and their accompanying delegation following the crash of the helicopter they were traveling in in the airspace of East Azerbaijan.

In a statement, the US State Department said, “The United States expresses its official condolences on the passing of the Iranian President, the Foreign Minister, and other members.”

While the spokesman for the Secretary-General of the United Nations confirmed that Antonio Guterres contacted the Iranian delegate to the United Nations and conveyed his condolences on the death of the president and his aides.

The United Nations announced that the flag will be flown at half-staff tomorrow, Tuesday, at 8:30 a.m. New York time, in mourning for the helicopter accident.

For his part, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a phone call with acting Iranian President Mohammad Mokhber, confirmed that Turkey stands by Tehran in these difficult days.

Erdogan declared mourning in Türkiye for one day to share the Iranians' pain, as he put it.

Also, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar, Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani, offered condolences to the Charge d'Affairs of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Ali Bagheri Kani, on the martyrdom of President Raisi and his companions.

The Deputy Secretary-General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Jamil Mezher, cabled his condolences to the Leader of the Revolution and the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mr. Ali Khamenei.

Mezher appreciated "the efforts of President Raisi and Foreign Minister of the Axis of Resistance Amir Abdullahian in serving the Palestinian cause."


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