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Ebrahim Raisi: How the world reacted to death of Iran's president

Condolences from around the world have been pouring in for the Iranian president, as Israel denies any involvement in the crash
A handout picture provided by the Iranian presidency shows Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi (C) at the site of Qiz Qalasi, the third dam jointly built by Iran and Azerbaijan on the Aras River, ahead of its inauguration ceremony on 19 May 2024 (AFP)
Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi (at the site of Qiz Qalasi, the third dam jointly built by Iran and Azerbaijan on the Aras River, ahead of its inauguration ceremony on 19 May 2024 (AFP)

World leaders have been offering their condolences to Iran after the country’s president, Ebrahim Raisi, was announced dead on Monday following a helicopter crash.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey stood by Iran at this difficult time.

“As a colleague who personally witnessed his efforts for the peace of the Iranian people and our region during his time in power, I remember Mr Raisi with respect and gratitude,” said Erdogan. 

The Russian news agency Tass reported that Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, had sent a message offering its “deepest condolences in connection with the enormous tragedy that befell the people of the Islamic Republic of Iran – the plane crash that claimed the life of president Ebrahim Raisi, as well as the lives of a number of other prominent statesmen of your country.”

The helicopter carrying Raisi and other officials crashed in a mountainous and forested area of the country in poor weather.

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The crash happened in a remote area near Iran’s border with Azerbaijan. Rescue teams faced extreme weather and difficult terrain through the night to reach the wreckage in East Azerbaijan province. 

The crash also killed Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian amongst other officials.

China’s foreign ministry said that President Xi Jinping had also expressed his condolences to his Iranian counterparts.

Adding his voice the European Council president, Charles Michel, said this morning that “the EU expresses its sincere condolences for the death of President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, as well as other members of their delegation and crew in a helicopter accident.”

Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, president of the United Arab Emirates, said his country stood in solidarity with Iran at this “difficult time”, and extended condolences to the Iranian government and the people of Iran. 

Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim in a post on X: “I am deeply saddened by the tragic deaths of President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and several other officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran."

Ibrahim went on to add that the Iranian president “exemplified a deep commitment to the welfare of his people and the dignity of his nation, which represents a proud and rich civilisation rooted in the principles of Islam."

How allies reacted

Lebanon, which has close ties with Iran, announced three days of national mourning for Iran’s president.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, a close ally of Iran, said: "I am shocked by the death of the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran and his accompanying staff as a result of the helicopter crash."

Amongst Iran’s non-state allies, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, the head of Yemen’s Houthi revolutionary committee, said on X: “Our deepest condolences to the Iranian people, the Iranian leadership, and the families of President Raisi.”

“We ask God to grant their families patience and solace. Verily we belong to Allah and to Him we shall return. The Iranian people will remain adhering to the loyal leaders of their people, by God’s will.”

Hamas, the Palestinian group fighting Israel in Gaza, also issued a statement thanking Raisi and Amir-Abdollahian for their support in its ongoing war that broke out on 7 October. 

The Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi office shows him (R) meeting with Ismail Haniyeh, the political bureau chief of the Palestinian movement Hamas in Tehran on March 27 2024 (AFP)

Hamas said of the deceased Iranian leaders that they “supported the legitimate struggle of our people against the Zionist entity, provided valued support to the Palestinian resistance, and made tireless efforts in solidarity and support in all forums and fields for our people in the steadfast Gaza Strip. They also made significant political and diplomatic efforts to stop the Zionist aggression against our Palestinian people.”

While the president of the European Council offered “sincere condolences” to Iran on the death of Raisi, by contrast Dutch far-right, anti-Islam, politician leader Geert Wilders posted on social media this morning that “I hope Iran will soon become a secular state again, with freedom for the Iranian people, and without an oppressive and barbaric Islamic mullah regime.”

Reuters reported that an Israeli official has told the news agency it was not involved in the helicopter crash.

“It wasn’t us,” said the official, who requested anonymity. There has been no official Israeli reaction to his death.

The former Israeli foreign minister, Avigdor Liberman, said: “For us it does not matter, it won’t affect Israel’s attitude [to Iran]. Iran’s policies are set by the supreme leader [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei],” he told the Ynet news site.

“However, there was no doubt that the president was a brutal man. We won’t shed a tear.”

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