Helicopter Carrying Iranian President Suffers ‘Hard Landing’: State TV

Sun May 19 2024
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TEHRAN: A helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi suffered a “hard landing” in the East Azerbaijan province of the country on Sunday, Iranian state television reported, without immediately elaborating.

According to the Iranian state television, Ebrahim Raisi was traveling in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province.

The incident occurred near Jolfa, a city situated on the border with Azerbaijan, approximately 600 kilometers (375 miles) northwest of Tehran, the Iranian capital. President Raisi had been traveling in the region, having earlier attended a ceremony in Azerbaijan alongside President Ilham Aliyev to inaugurate a dam constructed on the Aras River.

While state media confirmed the occurrence of the incident, no immediate elaboration was provided regarding the circumstances or the people on board the helicopter. Rescuers have been dispatched to the site in an effort to ascertain further details and render assistance, according to state television.

Iran’s air fleet encompasses a variety of helicopters, yet the procurement of parts remains a challenge due to international sanctions. Additionally, much of Iran’s military aviation infrastructure predates the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

President Raisi is widely recognized as a hard-liner who previously held the position of the country’s judiciary chief.

“Some unconfirmed reports say that the helicopter carrying President Raisi has had an accident in East Azerbaijan province,” state television said.

The semi-official Tasnim News Agency claimed that the helicopter that crashed was carrying Raisi.

It was reported that there were three helicopters in Raisi’s convoy.

Seyyed Mohammad-Ali Al-Hashem, Tabriz’s Friday Prayer Imam, and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian were also reportedly on the helicopter with the president.

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