Helicopter Carrying President Raisi Makes Emergency Landing in East Azerbaijan

Raisi was in Azerbaijan early on Sunday to open the dam with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, rescue teams are trying to reach the site of the incident but the terrain is difficult and harsh

by Sededin Dedovic
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Helicopter Carrying President Raisi Makes Emergency Landing in East Azerbaijan
© Handout / getty Images

A helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi experienced a "hard landing" on Sunday, Iranian state television reported, without providing details. Raisi was traveling to the Iranian province of East Azerbaijan. State television described the incident's location as near Jolfa, a city on the border with Azerbaijan, about 600 kilometers northwest of the Iranian capital Tehran, according to the AP.

Raisi was in Azerbaijan early on Sunday to inaugurate a dam with Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev. Neither IRNA nor state TV provided any information about Raisi's condition. "The honorable president and the delegation were returning in several helicopters, and one of the helicopters was forced to make a hard landing due to bad weather and fog," Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi said in comments on state television.

"Various rescue teams are on their way to the region, but due to bad weather and fog, it may take time for them to reach the helicopter." He added, "The region is somewhat unfavorable and it is difficult to establish contact.

We are waiting for the rescue teams to reach the landing site and provide us with more information. Rescuers have been trying to reach the site, state television said, but bad weather conditions have been hindering them. Heavy rain and fog with occasional wind have been reported.

Bad weather conditions are obstructing the rescue teams from reaching the site where the helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi allegedly crash-landed. The helicopter crew reportedly managed to send out a distress call before the incident, and local media report that screams were heard during the call, which was cut off after just a few seconds.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian was also on that helicopter. IRNA referred to the area as a "forest," and it is known that the region is mountainous. Raisi is a hardliner who previously led the country's judiciary.

He is seen as a protégé of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and some analysts suggest he could succeed the 85-year-old leader after his death or resignation.

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