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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

World Leaders Unite in Grief Over Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s Tragic Helicopter Crash

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TEHRAN, Iran — World leaders have expressed their condolences following the death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash.

Rescue teams began searching for Raisi on Sunday afternoon after his aircraft, which also carried nine other officials, including Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, went missing in Iran’s mountainous northwestern region near the Azerbaijan border.

On Monday morning, relief workers located the missing helicopter. State TV reported that the president’s body and that of the others on board had been identified.

Here are some reactions to the president’s death from across the world:

President Xi Jinping called the “tragic death” of Raisi “a great loss to the Iranian people and the Chinese people have lost a good friend,” according to China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

A statement from Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said that “The president of the Arab Republic of Egypt … prays that the deceased Iranian President and the departed may rest in God Almighty’s mercy, and grant their families patience and solace, expressing the solidarity of the Arab Republic of Egypt with the Iranian leadership and people in this terrible incident.”

European Union
President of the European Council, Charles Michel, expressed the bloc’s “sincere condolences” for the death of Raisi, Amirabdollahian, and the other Iranian officials who died in the crash.

Josep Borrell, the bloc’s foreign policy chief, also offered his condolences. “The EU expresses its sympathies to the families of all the victims and to the Iranian citizens affected,” he said in a statement.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “deeply saddened and shocked” by Raisi’s death. “His contribution to strengthening the India-Iran bilateral relationship will always be remembered. My heartfelt condolences to his family and the people of Iran. India stands with Iran in this time of sorrow,” Modi wrote on X.

“We express our solidarity with the brotherly Iranian people and the officials of the Islamic Republic during this painful tragedy,” Prime Minister Shia al-Sudani said in a statement.

In an interview with Italian broadcaster Channel 5, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said that she sees “in these hours that the Iranian authorities are crediting the thesis of the accident and not conspiracy theories.” “I do not see any changes in the internal order in Iran, we are in constant contact with our European and G7 allies because we are talking about an incident that is part of a particularly complex regional framework,” she said. “I hope that the future Iranian leadership wants to commit itself to the stabilisation and pacification of the region,” she added.

Japan’s government spokesperson Yoshimasa Hayashi said the country expresses its deepest condolences to the government and people of Iran over the death of President Raisi and the foreign minister.

In a post on the social media platform X, Jordan’s King Abdullah extended his “deepest condolences to the brothers, leadership, government, and people of the Islamic Republic of Iran on the death of Brother President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Brother Hossein Amirabdollahian, and those accompanying them.” “May God have mercy on them all. We stand in solidarity with our brothers in Iran in this difficult circumstance,” he added.

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said he was “deeply saddened” by the news, noting that he had the “honour” of meeting Raisi last November. “His dedication to justice, peace, and the upliftment of the ummah [the Islamic community] was truly inspiring. We committed ourselves to bolstering Malaysia-Iran relations, working together for the betterment of our peoples and the Muslim world. Our pledge will be fulfilled,” Ibrahim said.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif declared a day of mourning in Pakistan. “May the martyred souls rest in heavenly peace. The great Iranian nation will overcome this tragedy with customary courage,” Sharif wrote on X.

Pope Francis
The Pope sent condolences to Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei following the death of President Ebrahim Raisi. “I send condolences upon the deaths of President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and all who perished in yesterday’s helicopter crash,” wrote the 87-year-old pope in a telegram written in English and addressed to Khamenei. “Entrusting the souls of the deceased to the mercy of the Almighty, and with prayers for those who mourn their loss, especially their families, I send the assurance of spiritual closeness to the nation at this difficult time.”

Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani expressed his condolences to the people of Iran. “Asking God Almighty for mercy and forgiveness for [those killed] and for their families with patience and solace. We belong to Allah and to Him we shall return,” he wrote on X.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expressed condolences over the death of two top officials he called “reliable friends” of Russia. “Their role in strengthening mutually beneficial Russian-Iranian cooperation and trusting partnership is invaluable,” Lavrov said. President Vladimir Putin joined Lavrov in offering Tehran condolences.

“Raisi was an outstanding politician whose entire life was dedicated to serving his homeland,” Putin said in a letter to Khamenei, published on the Kremlin’s website. “As a true friend of Russia, he made an invaluable personal contribution to the development of good-neighbourly relations between our countries, and made great efforts to take them to the level of a strategic partnership,” he added.

In a statement, Sudan’s sovereign council head Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan has extended “his sincere condolences and sympathy to the friendly Iranian people.” “He prays to God Almighty that he may have mercy on the President and his companions, and grant their families patience and solace, expressing the solidarity of the Government of Sudan and its people with the leadership and the Iranian people in this great loss,” the statement added.

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad affirmed Syria’s solidarity with the Islamic Republic of Iran and the families of the dead. Assad added that Syria had worked with the late president to ensure strategic ties between Syria and Iran remained prosperous, recalling Raisi’s important visit to Syria as part of enhancing ties for the benefit of both nations.

Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan expressed condolences and said Ankara had been in contact with Iran since hearing about the crash on Sunday. He said Turkey’s relevant institutions, including the defense ministry and the disaster management authority, tried “their best but unfortunately, we weren’t able to hear good news,” he told a joint news conference with his Pakistani counterpart, Ishaq Dar, in Islamabad.

“Deeply saddened to have to say goodbye to an exemplary person, an extraordinary leader of the world as our brother Ebrahim is, and will always be, an excellent human being, defender of the sovereignty of his people and unconditional friend of our country,” Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said in a statement on the social media platform X.

Yemen’s Houthis
Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, head of the Houthi’s Supreme Revolutionary Committee, expressed his “deepest condolences” to the Iranian people and the families of the officials who died in the crash. Al-Houthi added his certainty that Iran would continue “adhering to the loyal leaders of their people, by God’s will.”

“Our hearts are with you in this difficult time. Our prayers are that God will cover them with His vast mercy and dwell them in His spacious Paradise,” UAE’s Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum said.

United States
The United States State Department has expressed its “official condolences” for the death of Raisi and other officials in a helicopter crash. “As Iran selects a new president, we reaffirm our support for the Iranian people and their struggle for human rights and fundamental freedoms,” department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement. Meanwhile, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that he had no insight into the cause of the helicopter crash. “I can’t speculate on what may have been the cause,” he told reporters.

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