Iran’s President Raisi Dies in Helicopter Crash, US Sanctions Blamed

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi has died in a tragic helicopter crash, as reported by Iranian state media on Monday morning. The crash also claimed the lives of the Iranian minister of foreign affairs and other officials onboard. An emergency meeting was convened by Raisi’s administration in response to the devastating news.

Crash Details

The helicopter crashed on Sunday amid rainy and foggy conditions in a remote mountainous region near Kalibar and Warzghan in northern Iran, close to the borders of Azerbaijan and Armenia. The Red Crescent confirmed locating the wreckage on Monday, initially reported as having made a “hard landing.” Hossein Kolivand, head of Iran’s Red Crescent, reported “no signs of life.”

Official Statements:

  • Kolivand: “We have found the president’s helicopter. We are approaching the crash site and will provide further details once we reach it, about two kilometers away. The situation looks grim.”

Reaction and Blame

Former Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif blamed U.S. sanctions on Iranian aviation as a significant factor. He stated, “The U.S. sanctions are a primary culprit in this tragedy. Despite the International Court of Justice’s decision, the U.S. has restricted the sale of aircraft and aviation parts, denying Iranians safe air travel.”

Rescue Efforts

Search Teams:

  • Two hot spots identified by a Turkish drone in the village of Tawal.
  • 73 rescue teams, including 23 with detector dogs, dispatched to the area.

Weather Conditions:

  • Fog and rain have hampered search efforts.
  • Despite the challenging weather, rescue operations continue.

International Assistance:

  • Russia: President Vladimir Putin sent 50 rescuers, two planes, and a helicopter.
  • Turkey: Deployed an Akinci UAV and a Cougar-type helicopter with night vision capabilities.

Timeline of Events

  1. Initial Reports:
    • Issues with Raisi’s helicopter, one of three in a convoy, emerged on Sunday afternoon.
    • Initial efforts involved 40 search-and-rescue teams, but poor weather prevented the use of aircraft.
  2. Purpose of Trip:
    • Raisi was in the area to inaugurate the Khoda Afarin and Qiz Qalasi dams and was returning home when the incident occurred.


Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev, who attended the dam ceremonies with Raisi, expressed concern and offered assistance. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged the nation to pray for Raisi and his companions. “We hope Almighty God will return the president and his companions safely to the nation,” Khamenei said.

Additional Information

U.S. Response:

  • President Joe Biden was briefed on the incident.
  • The State Department is closely monitoring the situation.

Further Details:

  • The helicopter incident was described as an “accident” by Iranian officials.
  • Search and rescue operations are ongoing, with updates expected as conditions improve.

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