Azerbaijan and Iraq Offer Aid in Search for Mising Helicopter with Iranian President

Babak Yektaparast, a spokesman for the organization of emergency services, says that aerial searches became unsustainable soon after darkness fell (currently it is night in Azerbaijan), and rescuers continue to search in inaccessible terrain

by Sededin Dedovic
Azerbaijan and Iraq Offer Aid in Search for Mising Helicopter with Iranian President
© Handout / Getty Images

Azerbaijan and Iraq offered aid to Iran today, where an intense search is underway to find the helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi that did not return from its trip. According to Iranian state television, the accident occurred today in the East Azerbaijan province, where Raisi was visiting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to inaugurate a dam on the border between the two countries.

“We pray for President Ebrahim Raisi and the delegation accompanying him,” Aliyev wrote on the platform X (formerly Twitter), adding that Azerbaijan, as a "neighboring, friendly, and brotherly country to Iran, is ready to provide all kinds of support." The search has been severely hampered by “adverse weather conditions,” said Iranian Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi on state television, adding that it would take time to reach the area.

Vahidi did not confirm whether President Raisi (63) was in the helicopter, which was part of a convoy of three helicopters carrying the presidential delegation. Two helicopters safely landed in Tabriz, a large city in the northwest, but not the one carrying the Iranian president.

Neighboring Iraq has also offered assistance. Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani “requested that the Ministry of Interior, the Iraqi Red Crescent, and other relevant bodies offer Iran available resources to assist in the search for the helicopter,” the Iraqi government stated.

The Iranian news agency IRNA reported that among the passengers in the missing helicopter were Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, the provincial governor, and the region’s chief imam. IRNA added that more than 20 rescue teams equipped with drones and dogs have been dispatched to the site.

Babak Yektaparast, spokesperson for the emergency services organization, said that aerial searches became unsustainable shortly after dark fell. “Unfortunately, continuing aerial operations was no longer possible due to intense fog throughout the region,” he said, adding that more ambulances have been dispatched. He emphasized that emergency helicopters are on standby in Tabriz and Tehran.