Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi survives helicopter mishap due to dense fog

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. File photo.

19th May 2024 – (Dubai) During early Sunday, a helicopter transporting Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was compelled to execute a “hard landing” amidst adverse weather conditions in East Azerbaijan province, as reported by the Iranian state television. The incident, which took place near the border city of Jolfa, some 600 kilometres northwest of Tehran, has heightened attention on the region’s transportation challenges, particularly in light of ongoing geopolitical tensions.

President Raisi, along with several high-ranking officials including Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and the governor of East Azerbaijan, was en route when the helicopter encountered severe difficulties attributed to heavy rain and fog. The group was returning from a ceremonial event in Azerbaijan where President Raisi and Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev inaugurated the third dam constructed on the Aras River—a significant yet politically sensitive project given the strained relations between the two nations over various issues.

The IRNA news agency, another state-run media outlet, initially used the term “crash” to describe the incident; however, this was later clarified as a hard landing by a local government official who had yet to reach the site himself. Rescue operations were reportedly complicated by the poor visibility and adverse weather conditions, with emergency teams making concerted efforts to reach the affected area, described by IRNA as a “forest.”

President Raisi, a prominent hard-liner and a protégé of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has been a central figure in Iran’s recent political landscape. His administration has been marked by policies that have both isolated and asserted Iran on the international stage, including its near-weapons-grade uranium enrichment and involvement in arming factions in various regional conflicts.