Thousands attend funeral prayers of President Ebrahim Raisi, others

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei performs prayer for victims of helicopter crash in Tehran

Web Desk
Mourners carry the coffin of President Seyyed Embrahim Raisi, who died in a helicopter crash along with Foriegn Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, East Azerbaijan Governor Malek Rahmati and Supreme Leader's representative Ali Ale-Hashem. — Iranian Embassy
  • Iran is observing mourning period after deadly chopper crash.
  • Funeral prayer was held at University of Tehran after procession.
  • Hamas chief also attended Raisi's funeral prayers.

TEHRAN: The funeral prayer of late Iranian President Seyyed Embrahim Raisi, Foriegn Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and other senior officials was led by the Islamic Republic's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran today.

Iranian media said that Hamas' Qatar-based leader Ismail Haniyeh also attended the funeral prayer. Haniyeh conveyed condolences to Iran's leadership over the death of President Raisi and others on behalf of the Palestinian resistance groups.

The funeral prayer was held three days after the president's helicopter crashed while crossing a mountain terrain amid heavy fog in the Varzaghan region of Iran's East Azerbaijan province on Sunday after they were returning from an inauguration ceremony of a dam near the country's border with Azerbaijan.

"Bodies of president Raisi and his companions were transferred to Tehran’s Mehrabad Airport on Tuesday after a funeral in northwestern city of Tabriz," according to Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

Those accompanying the Iranian president included Supreme Leader's representative Ali Ale-Hashem, East Azerbaijan Governor Malek Rahmati, two bodyguards, two pilots and one crew member.

All passengers, including Raisi, were declared dead when charred wreckage of the Bell 212 helicopter was found early on Monday after an overnight search in blizzard conditions.

A day earlier, Iran launched an investigation into the helicopter crash with Iranian Armed Forces Chief of Staff Major General Mohammad Bagheri constituting a probe committee headed by Brigadier Ali Abdollahi. It was reported that the findings of the incident’s investigation would be made public.

Iran is currently observing a mourning period in the wake of the crash.

'Weather was good when chopper took off'

Ghulam Hussain Ismaili, an officer who was part of the president's entourage travelling in one of the two surviving helicopters, said that the president's pilot was in charge of the three helicopters' convoy.

"The weather was good when the helicopters took off after the opening of the dam, but 45 minutes into the flight, the presidential pilot asked to fly high to avoid the clouds," he said.

He added that President Raisi's helicopter was in the middle of the other two copters and 30 seconds later the pilot of Ismaili's chopper noted that the president's helicopter had disappeared.

"Our helicopter circled, looking for the president's helicopter. Due to the presence of clouds, our helicopter kept flying high. Our pilot continued flying, landing the helicopter at a nearby copper mine," he mentioned.

He revealed that they tried to make phone calls to the foreign minister, the president's bodyguard and chopper's pilot Captain Mustafavi, but received no answer. However, Imam Ale-Hashem received a call and said that the presidential helicopter had met an accident.

"I called Ale-Hashem and he also told me that the helicopter had crashed in the valley," he said.

Ismaili added that after looking at the bodies of the chopper's passengers, it was obvious that the president and other officials had died on the spot, while Ale-Hashem died several hours after the crash.