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Reuters: Iranian president's life 'at risk' after helicopter crash

by Chris York May 19, 2024 7:05 PM 2 min read
Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi walk together following their meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow Dec. 7, 2023. (Sergei Bobylyov / POOL / AFP) 
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A helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his foreign minister crashed on May 19 as it flew over a mountainous area in Iran through heavy fog.

The fate of Raisi and others onboard is not yet known but an Iranian official told Reuters their lives were "at risk."

"We are still hopeful but information coming from the crash site is very concerning," they added.

Iran is one of Russia's closest allies on the international stage. The two countries have only deepened their military and political cooperation since the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Most notably, Iran has provided Russia with thousands of Shahed kamikaze drones used in airstrikes against Ukraine and has helped Moscow build a drone factory in Russia, as well as reportedly sending thousands of ballistic missiles.

Iranian state media said the helicopter made a "hard landing" near the city of Tabriz in the north-west of the country.

Rasi and his entourage were returning in a convoy of three helicopters from a trip to the border with Azerbaijan where he opened two new dams.

A rescue operation is underway but is being hampered by both the terrain and weather.

Explainer: Iran’s cheap, effective Shahed drones and how Russia uses them in Ukraine
Editor’s note: This story initially said that Shahed-136 drones are said to weigh 10-15 kilograms. It was corrected since that is the weight of the warhead, and the drones weigh about 200 kilograms. Iran’s massive aerial assault on Israel over the weekend felt close to home for Ukraine. In a
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