Iran’s President And Top Officials Die In Helicopter Crash, A Day Before Hague Orders Arrest Of Netanyahu For War Crimes

Iran’s President And Top Officials Die In Helicopter Crash, A Day Before Hague Orders Arrest Of Netanyahu For War Crimes


Islamic Republic of Iran

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi, along with Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and several top officials, perished in a helicopter crash in the foggy, mountainous region of East Azerbaijan province on May 19. The incident has not only left a significant power vacuum in Tehran but also compounded the existing geopolitical tensions in the region. Funeral activities got underway on May 21, AP reported.

The crash involved a U.S.-made Bell 212 helicopter, a relic from the Vietnam War era, Euro News reported. The helicopter, likely purchased during the reign of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, went down amidst heavy fog and a brewing storm. Some have questioned by the president of Iran was raveling in such an old helicopter. The challenging weather conditions, coupled with the mountainous terrain near the Azerbaijan border, made the rescue operations arduous. Despite the deployment of Turkish drones and an EU observational satellite, all aboard the helicopter were confirmed dead after a 15-hour search.

State media have yet to provide an immediate cause for the crash, though experts suggest that the nearly 50-year-old helicopter, which relies on visual flight conditions, might have struggled in the poor visibility. This incident has also brought to light the aging fleet of aircraft still in use by Iran, many of which were acquired before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

In the wake of President Raisi’s death, Iran’s first vice president, Mohammad Mokhber, has been designated as the acting president until a new election can be held. The Iranian authorities have scheduled this election for June 28. The White House has commented on the situation, with National Security Spokesman John Kirby stating that the U.S. does not expect these events to alter Iran’s foreign policy or its support for groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, or the Houthi movement in Yemen. Furthermore, Kirby asserted that Iran’s military support to Russia in the ongoing Ukraine conflict is also unlikely to change.

This tragedy coincides with another significant development: the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague has ordered the arrest of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on charges of war crimes. The timing of these events could exacerbate the already volatile situation in the Middle East.

Islamic Republic of Iran, https://president.ir/en/152018