No sign of foul play in Raisi’s helicopter crash, early report says

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi looks on during a meeting in Minab, Iran, February 2, 2024. — Reuters  

Initial findings show no signs of gunshot or similar observed. More information to be made available as inquiry progresses.No suspicious activity noted in control tower communications.Dubai: A preliminary report by Iran‘s military indicated no evidence of foul play or attack discovered so far during an investigation into the helicopter crash that claimed President Ebrahim Raisi‘s life, state media announced on Friday.Raisi, seen as a prospective successor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, perished when his helicopter crashed due to poor weather in mountainous regions near the Azerbaijan border on Sunday.”Signs of gunshot or similar were not found in the wreckage of the helicopter, which crashed in a high-altitude area and subsequently ignited,” stated the report by the armed forces general staff.”No suspicious activity has been noted in the control tower’s communications with the flight crew,” it further added.More information will be disclosed as the inquiry advances, the report noted.Raisi was laid to rest in Iran‘s sacred city of Mashhad on Thursday, four days following the tragic crash that also took the lives of Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and six others.Specialists highlight Iran has a poor air safety history, with frequent crashes, many involving US-manufactured airplanes acquired before the 1979 Islamic revolution.Tehran asserts US sanctions have long hindered it from purchasing new aircraft or spare parts from the West to modernize its aging fleets.Iran‘s chief prosecutor this week cautioned against spreading rumors on social media amid speculation that the helicopter might have been brought down, state media reported.Security personnel have detained an individual accused of disseminating a “false” report that became viral on social media with 40 million views, the semi-official Fars news agency reported. The post had questioned the authenticity of state media imagery of the helicopter.Iran declared five days of mourning for Raisi, who enforced Khamenei‘s policies, suppressed public dissent, and adopted a stringent stance on foreign policy matters, including discussions with Washington to renew Iran‘s 2015 nuclear agreement.A presidential election has been scheduled for June 28.

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