Helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi makes ’rough’ landing, rescue team rush to spot

Iran operates various helicopters but faces challenges due to international sanctions, which hinder parts procurement. Its military air fleet mostly predates the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Livemint
Updated19 May 2024
FILE- A helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi suffered a “hard landing” on Sunday, May 19, Iranian state television reported, without immediately elaborating.
FILE- A helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi suffered a “hard landing” on Sunday, May 19, Iranian state television reported, without immediately elaborating. (AP)

One of the helicopters in a group carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi made a rough landing, and rescue teams are on the way to the site of the incident, reports Reuters, citing Iran's interior minister. Raisi was travelling in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province. 

According to the state's TV, the incident happened near Jolfa, a city on the border with Azerbaijan, a nation 600 kilometers (375 miles) northwest of the Iranian capital, Tehran.

State TV said the rescuers' operations were hampered by the area's poor weather. Heavy rain and some wind have been reported.

Also read: US ‘concerned’ about ‘India-Iran Chabahar port’ deal: ‘Force of terrorism not only in Middle East but other places’

Early Sunday, Raisi was in Azerbaijan to inaugurate a dam with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev. The dam is the third one the two nations built on the Aras River.

Iran operates various helicopters but faces challenges due to international sanctions, which hinder parts procurement. Its military air fleet mostly predates the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Also read: Did US take U-turn on exemptions related to India-Iran Chabahar port deal? Can sanctions be imposed? All you should know

Raisi, 63, is a hard-liner who previously headed the country’s judiciary. He is seen as a protege of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and some analysts have suggested that he could succeed the 85-year-old leader after his departure or resignation from the role.

Raisi won Iran's 2021 presidential election, a vote that saw the lowest turnout in the Islamic Republic’s history. Raisi is sanctioned by the US in part over his involvement in the mass execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988 at the end of the bloody Iran-Iraq war.

Also read: Iran's lawmaker makes big revelation: ‘We have obtained nuclear weapons, but…’ Details here

Under Raisi, Iran now enriches uranium at nearly weapons-grade levels and hampers international inspections. 

Iran has armed Russia in its war on Ukraine, as well as launched a massive drone and missile attack on Israel amid its war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. It also has continued arming proxy groups in the Mideast, like Yemen's Houthi rebels and Lebanon's Hezbollah.

(With AP inputs)

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