Thousands attend funeral prayers of President Ebrahim Raisi, others

A sea of grieving individuals accompanies the casket of President Seyyed Embrahim Raisi following a tragic aerial incident also claiming the lives of Foriegn Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, East Azerbaijan Governor Malek Rahmati, and Ali Ale-Hashem, Supreme Leader’s envoy. — Iranian Embassy
  • Iran declares national mourning in wake of catastrophic helicopter crash.
  • University of Tehran hosts funeral prayers following a solemn procession.
  • Hamas leader among attendees at Raisi’s memorial service.

TEHRAN: In an emotionally-charged ceremony, the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei presided over the funeral rites for the recently deceased Iranian President Seyyed Embrahim Raisi, Foriegn Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, and other high-ranking officials in Tehran today.

The Iranian press reports that Ismail Haniyeh, leader of Hamas residing in Qatar, also made an appearance at the funeral service, extending sympathy to the leaders of Iran for their loss, representing Palestinian factions.

The memorial took place three days following the downing of President Raisi’s helicopter while negotiating mountainous terrains enshrouded in dense fog in Iran’s Varzaghan region located in East Azerbaijan on Sunday as they came back from a dam inauguration near the Azerbaijani frontier.

Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) stated, “The remains of President Raisi and his delegation were transported to Tehran’s Mehrabad Airport on Tuesday following a local service in the northwestern municipality of Tabriz,”.

The entourage included Ali Ale-Hashem, the Supreme Leader’s representative, Governor of East Azerbaijan Malek Rahmati, a duo of bodyguards, a pair of pilots, and another crew member.

All of the passengers, including the President, were declared deceased following the location of the burnt-out Bell 212 helicopter remains early on Monday amidst a frantic overnight search in treacherous blizzard conditions.

One day prior, an official inquiry into the crash was initiated by Iran, with the Iranian Armed Forces’ Major General Mohammad Bagheri announcing a committee for investigation led by Brigadier Ali Abdollahi. The inquiry’s outcomes are anticipated to be disclosed to the public.

Currently, Iran is in a state of national grief due to the tragedy.

‘Flight Conditions Were Favorable at Takeoff,’ Reports Suggest

Describing the events, Ghulam Hussain Ismaili, an officer involved in the presidential party travelling aboard one of the other helicopters, remarked that the flight had commenced with favorable weather conditions.

“The skies were clear as we departed following the dam’s inauguration, but into 45 minutes of flight, our convoy’s leader requested an increase in altitude to circumvent cloud formations,” he commented.

He further noted that the President’s helicopter was flanked by the other two helicopters and vanished from sight after half a minute. Despite an extensive aerial search amidst cloud cover, they had to perform an emergency landing at a nearby copper mine due to deteriorating visibility.

Efforts to establish contact with the members aboard the President’s helicopter failed, until confirmation of the crash came from Ale-Hashem. Tragically, it appeared evident from the condition of the crash victims that their demise was instantaneous, except for Ale-Hashem who succumbed to his injuries hours later.

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