Helicopter Carrying Iran’s President Has Crashed, State Media Reports

A helicopter carrying President Ebrahim Raisi of Iran crashed on Sunday, according to Iranian state media and the country’s mission to the United Nations, but has yet to be found by search-and-rescue workers because of heavy fog.

Mr. Raisi, 63, has long been a prominent figure in Iran. As president, he oversees all of the work of the government and is the second most powerful individual in Iran’s political structure after the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

It was not immediately known what caused the crash of the helicopter, which was also carrying Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian.

State television did not report on any casualties or the condition of the president, but it urged the public to pray for the safety of Mr. Raisi, who was elected in 2021, and those who were traveling with him. The president’s official website also posted a message requesting prayers.

The state news agency IRNA reported that an enormous search operation involving 20 search and rescue teams, including drones and dogs, was underway. Inclement weather, the reports said, was hampering the effort. The teams had yet to locate the crash site after almost five hours.

“Given the complexities of the region, connection has been difficult, and we are hoping that the rescue teams reach the helicopter and can give us more information,” Ahmad Vahidi, Iran’s interior minister, told state television.

The head of Iran’s Red Crescent Society, Pirhossein Koulivand, told the semiofficial Tasnim news agency that the crash had happened in “an impenetrable area.” He said he was on his way there and that search teams had been deployed from multiple provinces.

Videos airing on Iranian state television showed rescue teams driving along mountain roads in thick fog and teams walking on green hills wearing red-and-white vests.

Mr. Raisi was on an official visit to northwestern Iran. A delegation of ministers traveled with him in a convoy of three helicopters, state media reported, adding that the two other aircraft had reached their destinations.

Here are the latest developments:

  • The government canceled a planned cabinet meeting and instead convened an emergency meeting with the country’s crisis management committee, state media reported.

  • Iran’s law stipulates that if the president dies, power is transferred to the first vice president and an election must be called within six months. The first vice president is Mohammad Mokhber, a conservative politician.

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