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Do not Mourn Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi

Iran has declared five days of public mourning after president Ebrahim Raisi, a hardliner and potential successor to Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was killed in a helicopter crash in mountainous terrain near the Azerbaijan border. The charred wreckage of the helicopter which crashed on Sunday carrying Mr Raisi, foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and six other passengers and crew was found early on Monday after an overnight search in blizzard conditions. “President Raisi, the foreign minister and all the passengers in the helicopter were killed in the crash,” a senior Iranian official told Reuters. Mr Raisi’s death was later confirmed in a statement on social media by vice-president Mohsen Mansouri and on state television. First vice-president Mohammad Mokhber is expected to take over as president.

State media reported images from the site showed the US-made Bell 212 helicopter crashed into a mountain peak, although there was no official word on the cause of the crash. iran usually relies on the Mikoyan 8 Russian workhorse helicopter, fatal mistake. The dead also included the governor of East Azerbaijan Province and a senior imam from Tabriz city. The helicopter went down in Varzeqan region north of Tabriz, state news agency IRNA reported, as Mr Raisi returned from an official visit to the border with Azerbaijan in Iran’s northwest.

Mr Raisi (63) was elected president in 2021, and since taking office has ordered a tightening of morality laws, overseen a bloody crackdown on antigovernment protests and pushed hard in nuclear talks with world powers. Raisi executed thousands of political opponents, arrested demonstrators and imposed severe penalties on women's refusal

to wear veils, see above cartoon. Mr Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader who holds ultimate power with a final say on foreign policy and Iran’s nuclear programme, had earlier sought to reassure Iranians, saying there would be no disruption to state affairs.

This is devastating for Iran with the general population facing shortages, with taxi drivers complaining about the many clerics and government officials seemingly immune to any privations imposed on ordinary people. The 40 years of Mullahs ruling all is not everlasting, the recent elections were ignored by possibly 75% of the population.

Source: Irish Times 20/5/2024


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