The Latest | Iran's president, foreign minister and others die in helicopter crash

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, the country’s foreign minister and others have been found dead at the site of a helicopter crash after an hourslong search through a foggy, mountainous region of the country’s northwest

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, the country’s foreign minister and others were found dead Monday at the site of a helicopter crash after an hourslong search through a foggy, mountainous region in the country’s northwest, state media reported.

State TV gave no immediate cause for the crash Sunday in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province. With Raisi were Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, the governor of Iran’s East Azerbaijan province and other officials, as well as three crew members, the state-run IRNA news agency reported.

Turkish authorities early Monday released what they described as drone footage showing what appeared to be a fire in the wilderness that they “suspected to be wreckage of a helicopter.” The coordinates put the fire some 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of the Azerbaijan-Iranian border on the side of a steep mountain.

Iran's state media say the acting president, Mohammad Mokhber, and other leaders have chosen June 28 as the date for the presidential election, but that still needs approval by the Guardian Council.

Currently:

— Iran's president, foreign minister and others found dead at helicopter crash site, state media says

Iran President Ebrahim Raisi, supreme leader's protégé, dies at 63 in helicopter crash

— Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, a hard-line diplomat, dies in helicopter crash

— Helicopter crash that killed Iran's president and others could reverberate across the Middle East

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WHITE HOUSE EXPECTS NO IMPACT ON DIFFICULT RELATIONSHIP WITH IRAN

The White House says it does not expect the deaths of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and the country’s foreign minister to have any substantive impact on the difficult U.S.-Iran relationship.

National security spokesman John Kirby says that “we don’t anticipate any change in Iranian behavior, and therefore, the Iranians should not expect any change in American behavior when it comes to holding them accountable."

He adds the U.S. expects Iran’s change in leadership will not change its support of Hamas, Hezbollah or the Yemen-based Houthis who have targeted commercial shipping vessels since the start of the war in Gaza.

Kirby says the U.S. does not have any insight on what might have caused Sunday's helicopter crash, but he pushed back against “baseless” criticism that U.S. sanctions limiting aviation parts and equipment into Iran is partly to blame.

Kirby calls it “not surprising that the Iranian regime will once again find a way to try to blame the United States for problems of its own making.”

U.S. SAYS IRAN REACHED OUT FOR HELP AFTER CRASH

U.S. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller says Iran reached out to the United States for assistance after Sunday's helicopter crash. The U.S. said it would do what it could, but it turned out there was nothing it could do logistically to assist.

It is not clear where Iran's request for assistance was made. The U.S. and Iran have no formal diplomatic relationship.

IRAN SETS PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION FOR JUNE 28

Iranian authorities have agreed to hold the presidential election on June 28 following the death of President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash, the state-run IRNA news agency reports.

The report says acting President Mohammad Mokhber and other leaders including the head of the judiciary and parliament speaker agreed on the date. The decision must be approved by the Guardian Council, according to Iran’s constitution, which says a new election should be called within 50 days.

The IRNA report says all candidates can register from May 30 to June 3 and campaigning will be June 12 to June 27.

U.S. OFFERS CONDOLENCES, SUPPORT FOR IRAN'S PEOPLE

The U.S. State Department in a statement offers official condolences for the victims of the helicopter crash that killed Iran's president and others. It adds that “as Iran selects a new president, we reaffirm our support for the Iranian people and their struggle for human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

In a separate statement, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says the U.S. continues to monitor the situation surrounding the “very unfortunate helicopter crash” but says he has no insight into the cause of the accident.

Austin adds that “I don’t necessarily see any broader regional security impacts at this point in time.”

IRAN CLOSES OFFICES, BUSINESSES FOR FUNERAL WEDNESDAY

Iran's state television says all government offices and private businesses in the country will be closed on Wednesday to coincide with funerals for crash victims. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will pray for the dead on Wednesday.

Separate funeral ceremonies will be held Tuesday in the northeastern city of Tabriz and in Qom, which is home to major Shiite seminaries.

The burial of President Ebrahim Raisi will take place on Thursday in Mashhad, where he was born.

TURKISH LEADER SPEAKS WITH IRAN'S CARETAKER PRESIDENT

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has spoken by phone with Mohammad Mokhber and told the Iranian caretaker president that Turkey will stand by Tehran during this “mournful period.”

Erdogan’s office quoted the Turkish leader as saying Turkey would “continue to fulfil the requirements of the neighborly and brotherly ties” with Iran.

Erdogan said he would “always remember” the late Iranian president and foreign minister for their contributions to relations between the countries.

EXPERT SAYS IRAN FACES A SHORTAGE OF AIRCRAFT PARTS

Iran faces a shortage of parts to maintain aircraft. Iran’s state media said the helicopter that crashed was a Bell 212 that Iran purchased in the early 2000s. Bell produced that model from 1968 until 1998.

Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst and consultant, said Iran likely is tapping the black market for parts amid sanctions on the country. But he said Iran had access to an alternative in Russian helicopters.

“They are blaming sanctions, and that’s correct, but there are no sanctions whatsoever on (Iran buying) Russian helicopters, and Russian helicopters are pretty good. They didn’t have to fly this guy around” in such an old machine, Aboulafia said. “They are blaming sanctions for their own incompetence. You could buy an MI-17 anytime. It’s what Vladimir Putin flies in.”

Aboulafia also questioned whether Iran has maintenance skills necessary for keeping older helicopters flying safely. “There are a lot of parts available on the black market, especially for a 212 – that’s a very old machine,” he said. “Half-century-old helicopters, if immaculately maintained, are OK. But black-market parts and whatever local maintenance capabilities they’ve got – that’s not a good combination.”

IRAQ TO OBSERVE A DAY OF MOURNING FOR IRAN'S RAISI AND OTHERS KILLED IN THE HELICOPTER CRASH

BAGHDAD— Iraq has announced that Tuesday will be a national day of mourning for the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and other members of their delegation who were killed in a helicopter crash in Iran on Sunday.

A Shiite power, Iran, also has significant influence in Iraq, especially among its majority Shiites. Iraq's main coalition in the government is close to Tehran, and Iran also funds and trains a number of militias in Iraq.

Pakistan has also announced a day of mourning. Lebanon and Syria have both declared three days of mourning.

PUTIN SPEAKS ON THE PHONE WITH IRAN'S ACTING PRESIDENT MOKHBER

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday spoke on the phone with Mohammad Mokhber, Iran’s first vice president who has been named the country’s acting president following the death of President Ebrahim Raisi, the Kremlin said.

Putin extended his condolences to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Mokhber and “all the people of Iran,” and emphasized that he knew and appreciated Raisi "as a reliable partner who made an invaluable personal contribution to the development of friendly relations between Russia and Iran.”

Mokhber, the Kremlin said, “expressed sincere gratitude for the words of sympathy and support during this difficult time for the country.”

Both men “emphasized their mutual desire to further consistently strengthen comprehensive Russian-Iranian cooperation for the benefit of the peoples of the two countries.”

EU FOREIGN POLICY CHIEF AND FRANCE OFFER CONDOLENCES

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in a brief statement on Monday offered condolences for the deaths of Iran’s president and foreign minister and “other Iranian officials involved in the tragic helicopter crash.”

“The EU expresses its sympathies to the families of all the victims and to the Iranian citizens affected,” the statement said.

The French Foreign Ministry extended its “condolences” to the Islamic Republic, and said it was sending "its thoughts to the families of the victims of this accident.”

IN CAIRO, THE TOP SUNNI RELIGIOUS INSTITUTION MOURNS DEATHS IN IRAN

CAIRO — Al-Azhar al-Sharif, the Sunni world’s foremost seat of religious learning, on Monday mourned the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and others who were killed in a helicopter crash.

In a statement, Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, the grand imam of Cairo-based Al-Azhar, extended his condolences to the Iranian people and the families of the victims.

Al-Azhar is a top religious institution across the Muslim world. A 1,000-year-old university of scholar-clerics, it teaches new generations of Sunni clerics and produces research that for many spells out what being a Muslim entails.

IRAN'S NUCLEAR NEGOTIATOR APPOINTED AS FOREIGN MINISTRY CARETAKER, STATE TV REPORTS

TEHRAN — Iran’s acting president has appointed the country's nuclear negotiator as the Foreign Ministry caretaker after Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian was killed in a helicopter crash, state TV reported Monday.

Acting President Mohammad Mokhber appointed Ali Bagheri Kani, Iran’s nuclear negotiator, as Foreign Ministry caretaker, Cabinet spokesman Ali Bahadori Jahromi was quoted as saying.

Mokhber was appointed acting president by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Monday after the crashed helicopter was found in northwestern Iran.

INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY OBSERVES MINUTE OF SILENCE FOR IRANIAN CRASH VICTIMS

BERLIN — The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Mariano Grossi, called at a conference on nuclear security in Vienna for a minute of silence in memory of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and the other victims of the helicopter crash in Iran.

“I extend my condolences on (their) tragic passing,” Grossi wrote on social network X on Monday. “Our thoughts are with their families and the people of Iran during this difficult time.”

Grossi visited Iran earlier this month as his agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, negotiates with Tehran over how to implement a deal struck last year to expand inspections of the Islamic Republic’s rapidly advancing atomic program.

HAMAS AND PALESTINIAN ISLAMIC JIHAD MOURN DEATHS IN IRAN

BEIRUT — Palestinian militant groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, both combatants against Israeli forces in the ongoing war in Gaza and both of which have received military support from Tehran, issued statements Monday mourning the deaths of Iran’s president and foreign minister.

Hamas said the helicopter crash had “claimed the lives of a group of the best Iranian leaders," praising their “honorable positions in support of our Palestinian cause, and support for the legitimate struggle of our people against the Zionist entity,” referring to Israel.

“We are confident that the Islamic Republic of Iran will be able — God willing — to overcome the repercussions of this great loss. The dear Iranian people have ancient institutions capable of dealing with this severe ordeal,” the statement said.

The Islamic Jihad, similarly, called the deaths of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian “a great loss for the Palestinian people in these difficult circumstances, as they had a prominent and clear role in supporting and assisting the Palestinian people’s struggle and resistance.”

It was not immediately clear what impact, if any, Raisi’s death would have on Iran’s involvement in the ongoing regional conflict.

CHINA'S XI EXPRESSES CONDOLENCES TO IRAN

BEIJING — Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed deep condolences on Monday over the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, according to the Foreign Ministry.

“His unfortunate death is a huge loss to the Iranian people, and also caused China to lose a good friend,” said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin at a daily news briefing.

Xi also praised Raisi’s “important contributions to safeguarding Iran’s security and stability” and for “positive efforts” on China-Iran relations.

Wang also expressed condolences over the death of Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and said China would continue to provide necessary assistance and support to Iran.

IRAN'S FIRST VICE PRESIDENT APPOINTED PRESIDENT BY SUPREME LEADER

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Iran’s supreme leader has appointed First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber as the country’s acting president after a helicopter crash killed President Ebrahim Raisi.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made the announcement in a condolence message he shared for Raisi’s death in the crash Sunday. The helicopter was found Monday in northwestern Iran.

Khamenei also announced five days of mourning in the message.

AFGHANISTAN'S TALIBAN MOURN RAISI

KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghanistan's Taliban rulers on Monday said they were deeply saddened by the deaths of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and the country's foreign minister in a helicopter crash.

“We share our grief with the Islamic Republic of Iran and the people of that country and offer our condolences to all the families of the victims, the nation and the government of Iran,” the Taliban prime minister, Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, said in a statement.

TURKEY'S ERDOGAN SAYS HE REMEMBERS RAISI ‘WITH RESPECT AND GRATITUDE’

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan conveyed his condolences to the Iranian people and government over the deaths of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and other officials in a helicopter crash.

Erdogan said in a statement posted on social platform X that he remembers Raisi “with respect and gratitude” and praised his “efforts for the peace of the Iranian people and our region during his time in office.”

Turkish authorities dispatched a drone late on Sunday to help locate the wreckage and early on Monday released footage showing what appeared to be a fire in the wilderness that they “suspected to be the wreckage of a helicopter."

RUSSIA'S PUTIN CALLS RAISI'S DEATH AN ‘IRREPARABLE LOSS’

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday extended his “deep condolences” to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, calling the deaths of the country’s president and other officials a “huge tragedy” and “a difficult, irreparable loss.”

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Putin said in a statement released by the Kremlin, was “an outstanding politician whose entire life was devoted to serving the Motherland.”

“He rightfully enjoyed high respect from his compatriots and significant authority abroad. As a true friend of Russia, he made an invaluable personal contribution to the development of good neighborly relations between our countries and made great efforts to bring them to the level of strategic partnership,” the Russian president said.

Putin said that he had met Raisi several times and “will forever retain the fondest memory of this wonderful man.”

LEBANON DECLARES 3 DAYS OF MOURNING OVER RAISI'S DEATH

BEIRUT — Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati declared three days of mourning in the country in response to the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, with flags at official institutions to be flown at half-staff.

Lebanon’s political factions are deeply divided between those in support of Iran and its protege, Hezbollah, and those opposed to Iranian influence in the country.

SYRIA'S ASSAD PRAISES LATE IRANIAN PRESIDENT'S ‘VISIONS AND IDEAS’

BEIRUT — Syrian President Bashar Assad sent his condolences to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei over the deaths of the country’s president and foreign minister and their accompanying delegation. Iran’s intervention in the Syrian civil war on behalf of Assad’s embattled government helped to keep the Syrian president in power.

“We worked with the late president (Raisi) to ensure that the strategic relations between Syria and Iran remain prosperous always, and we will always remember his visit to Syria as an important milestone in this path, and all the visions and ideas that he presented to enrich relations with everything that benefits the Syrian and Iranian peoples,” Assad’s office said in a statement.

Syria also declared an official mourning period of three days, with flags to be flown at half-staff, to mourn the death of the Iranian president and his foreign minister, state news agency SANA said on Monday.

AZERBAIJAN PRESIDENT: RAISI WAS ‘AN OUTSTANDING STATESMAN’

MOSCOW — Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev extended condolences to Iran’s supreme leader, saying in a statement that he and his government were “deeply shocked by the heavy loss that befell the brotherly and friendly Islamic Republic of Iran and its people.”

In Raisi “the people of Iran have lost an outstanding statesman who served his country selflessly and faithfully all his life. The bright memory of him will always live in our hearts,” Aliyev said.

HEZBOLLAH MOURNS IRANIAN PRESIDENT'S DEATH, CALLING HIM ‘A BIG BROTHER TO US’

BEIRUT — The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, which has received substantial backing from Iran and is a senior member of its regional “axis of resistance,” mourned the deaths of the Iranian president and foreign minister in a statement.

It described Raisi as “a big brother to us, a strong supporter, and a staunch defender of our issues and the Arab nations’ issues, most notably Jerusalem and Palestine, and a protector of the resistance movements and those fighting on their behalf in all the positions of responsibility he held.”

EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT CALLS RAISI'S DEATH A ‘GREAT LOSS’

CAIRO — Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi of Egypt has mourned the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and other senior officials in a helicopter crash. In a statement, el-Sissi expressed his country’s solidarity with “the leadership and people of Iran in this great loss.”

IRAN'S CABINET HOLDS EMERGENCY MEETING AFTER DEATH OF PRESIDENT

TEHRAN — Iran’s Cabinet held an emergency meeting as state media announced the death of President Ebrahim Raisi.

The Cabinet offered its condolences, saying in a statement that he made the ultimate sacrifice in serving his country, according to a report by the state-run IRNA news agency. The report was accompanied by a photo of Raisi’s chair draped in black, his photo on the desk.

“We assure our loyal and appreciative and beloved nation that the path of service will continue with the tireless spirit of Ayatollah Raisi, the hero and the servant of the nation and the faithful friend of the leadership,” the Cabinet said in a statement carried by IRNA.

PAKISTAN ANNOUNCES DAY OF MOURNING AFTER IRANIAN HELICOPTER CRASH

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has announced a day of mourning over the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash.

“I along with the government and people of Pakistan extend our deepest condolences and sympathies to the Iranian nation on this terrible loss. May the martyred souls rest in heavenly peace. The great Iranian nation will overcome this tragedy with customary courage,” Sharif wrote on the social platform X on Monday.

Sharif recently hosted Raisi and Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian when they visited Pakistan and said: “They were good friends of Pakistan."

Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari in a statement also expressed shock and sorrow over Raisi's death. He extended his condolences to the bereaved families of the Iranian president, the foreign minister and others who died in the accident.

INDIAN PM MODI EXPRESSES CONDOLENCES TO IRAN

NEW DELHI — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was deeply saddened and shocked by the news of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s death, and sent his condolences to Raisi’s family and the people of Iran.

“India stands with Iran in this time of sorrow,” Modi said in a post on social platform X on Monday.

IRAQI PRIME MINISTER SAYS ‘GREAT SADNESS AND GREAT SORROW’ AFTER DEADLY HELICOPTER CRASH IN IRAN

BAGHDAD — Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, whose government coalition is close to Tehran, expressed “great sadness and great sorrow” in a statement on Monday after the deaths of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and others in a helicopter crash.

He also extended “sincere condolences” to Iran’s supreme leader and government and “solidarity with the brotherly Iranian people."

HOUTHI LEADER IN YEMEN MOURNS IRANIAN PRESIDENT'S DEATH

CAIRO — A Houthi leader in Yemen on Monday mourned the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and other senior officials who were killed in a helicopter crash.

“Our deepest condolences to the Iranian people and the Iranian leadership and to the families of the president and the accompanying delegation,” Mohamed Ali al-Houthi, the head of the Houthis’ Supreme Revolutionary Committees. “The Iranian people will continue to have leaders loyal to their people, God willing.”

Iran is the main backer of the Houthis in their yearslong war against Yemen’s internationally recognized government, which is backed by a Saudi-led military coalition.

IRAN'S PRESIDENT, FOREIGN MINISTER AND OTHERS FOUND DEAD AT HELICOPTER CRASH SITE

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, the country’s foreign minister and others have been found dead at the site of a helicopter crash after an hourslong search through a foggy, mountainous region of the country’s northwest, state media reported.

State TV gave no immediate cause for the crash in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province. With Raisi were Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, the governor of Iran’s East Azerbaijan province and other officials and bodyguards, the state-run IRNA news agency reported.

Turkish authorities early Monday released what they described as drone footage showing what appeared to be a fire in the wilderness that they “suspected to be wreckage of a helicopter.” The coordinates listed in the footage put the fire some 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of the Azerbaijan-Iranian border on the side of a steep mountain.

Footage released by the IRNA early Monday showed what the agency described as the crash site, across a steep valley in a green mountain range. Soldiers speaking in the local Azeri language said: “There it is, we found it.”

Shortly after, state TV in an on-screen scrolling text said: “There is no sign of life from people on board.” It did not elaborate, but the semiofficial Tasnim news agency showed rescuers using a small drone to fly over the site, with them speaking among themselves saying the same thing.

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