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Iran’s President helicopter crashes en route Azerbaijan

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A helicopter carrying Iranian President, Ebrahim Raisi, has been involved in an incident while he was visiting neighbouring Azerbaijan.

 

According to Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency, the incident occurred near Jolfa, a city on the border with Azerbaijan, approximately 600 kilometers northwest of Tehran on Sunday, May 19, 2024.

 

President Raisi was in the province to inaugurate a dam on the Aras River with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev.

 

The visit came despite recent tensions between Iran and Azerbaijan, exacerbated by a 2023 gun attack on Azerbaijan’s Embassy in Tehran and Azerbaijan’s diplomatic ties with Israel.

 

President Raisi, along with Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, the governor of East Azerbaijan, and other officials, was traveling in the helicopter.

 

“Some of the president’s companions on this helicopter were able to communicate with Central Headquarters, raising hopes that the incident could have ended without casualties,” the state agency said.

 

The helicopter was part of a convoy of three helicopters. Two of those helicopters were carrying ministers and officials who arrived at their destination safely, according to Tasnim.

 

As at press time, rescue teams are en route, though their efforts are being hindered by poor weather conditions, including heavy rain, fog, and wind. The area is described as a forested region.

 

 

Ali Zakari, Deputy Governor for Development in East Azerbaijan, stated that he had not yet arrived at the accident site and did not have detailed information. Iran’s Red Crescent has dispatched rescue teams to the location as efforts to reach the crash site continue.

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