Iran’s Supreme Leader Presides Over Funeral For President And Others Killed In Helicopter Crash


Iran’s Supreme Leader Presides Over Funeral For President And Others Killed In Helicopter Crash | Associated Press 

Iran’s supreme leader presided over a funeral Wednesday for the country’s late president, foreign minister and others killed in a helicopter crash, as tens of thousands later followed a procession of their caskets through the capital, Tehran. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei held the service at Tehran University, the caskets of the dead draped in Iranian flags with their pictures on them. On the late President Ebrahim Raisi’s coffin sat a black turban — signifying him as a direct descendent of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. “Oh Allah, we didn’t see anything but good from him,” Khamenei said in the standard prayer for the dead in Arabic, the language of Islam’s holy book, the Quran. He soon left and the crowd inside rushed to the front, reaching out to touch the coffins. Iran’s acting president, Mohammad Mokhber, stood nearby and openly wept during the service. 

Critics Slam UN After It Lowers Flag To Half-Staff In Honor Of 'Mass Murderer' Iranian President | Fox News 

The United Nations flag was lowered to half-staff Tuesday in honor of the late Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who died in a helicopter crash Monday. Raisi, nicknamed the "Butcher of Tehran" for his oversight of mass executions of political prisoners in 1988, died along with Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and other Iranian officials who were in the helicopter when it crashed in a mountainous region to the country's northwest. Several U.N. member nations have offered condolences to the Iranian regime – a show of support for the state sponsor of terror that has outraged human rights activists and Iran hawks. "One might say this sign of U.N. respect for mass murderers and terrorist executioners is not a surprise," said Anne Bayefsky, director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, and president of Human Rights Voices.  

After Raisi’s Death, Elections Pose Tricky Test For Iran’s Rulers | The New York Times 

For decades, Iran’s leaders could point to high voter turnouts in their elections as proof of the legitimacy of the Islamic Republic’s political system. But as voter turnout has plummeted in recent years, the election they will be now obliged to hold after the death of President Ebrahim Raisi will force the political establishment into a decision it does not want to make. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country’s supreme leader, has two options, each carrying risks. He could ensure that the presidential elections, which the Constitution mandates must happen within 50 days after Mr. Raisi’s death, are open to all, from hard-liners to reformists. But that risks a competitive election that could take the country in a direction he does not want.  


The Death Of A Butcher | The Dispatch 

...“His career was spent in one of the most repressive institutions in the Islamic Republic: its judiciary,” Jason Brodsky, the policy director of United Against Nuclear Iran, told The Dispatch. “His career is drenched in the blood of the Iranian people, and that’s why you saw many celebrating his demise with fireworks overnight. There is no love lost there.” 

Iranian President Raisi, The ‘Butcher Of Tehran,’ Found Dead At Helicopter Crash Site | Washington Times 

…Mr. Raisi’s death or incapacitation wouldn’t change the Iran regime’s fundamental policies. Ayatollah Khamenei remains in office and is the country’s constitutional commander in chief, said Jason Brodsky, a scholar at the Middle East Institute. “It has the potential to scramble the politics of succession in the Islamic republic with Raisi as a leading candidate as Khamenei’s successor,” Mr. Brodsky said. “Raisi is also the most qualified person by virtue of bureaucratic experience to succeed Khamenei. He has been the closest person ideologically to Khamenei since he took over as supreme leader in 1989.”  

Israel Says ‘It Wasn’t Us’ After Iranian President Killed In Helicopter Crash | The Telegraph 

…According to the pressure group United Against Nuclear Iran: “Mokhber used the vast wealth accumulated by EIKO — at the expense of the Iranian people—to reward regime insiders like himself.” 

Inside Iran’s Silent Resistance Movement Defiantly Celebrating President’s Death | i News 

…Kasra Aarabi, director of IRGC Research at United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), is unsurprised by the celebrations. “Raisi was quite literally known as ‘The Butcher of Tehran’,” he told i. “Raisi made his career by spilling the blood of tens of thousands of Iranians across three decades. It’s no surprise that the Iranians – both young and old – are celebrating his death. “The deep-rooted irreversible hatred for Raisi reflects the Iranian people’s sentiment towards the totalitarian clerical regime. This is because Raisi represented the true, ugly and bloodstained face of the regime.”  

Biden Rebuked For Giving Condolences On Raisi's Death | Newsmax 

…Jason Brodsky, policy director at United Against Nuclear Iran, slammed Biden for failing to lead with "moral clarity." "Today's statement by @StateDept offering 'official condolences' after #Iran's regime's president's death is a symptom of a larger problem," Brodsky posted on X. "The Biden administration's Iran policy is adrift. Its attempt to keep the issue off the president's desk often results in a policy which lacks the necessary energy, creativity, and initiative. It is defined by an extreme and irrational risk-aversion. It tries to appease everyone at the same time – the regime included – and shoots itself in the foot time and again. The U.S. needs to lead with moral clarity. Today it did not do so."  

How Are Iranians Reacting To President Ebrahim Raisi's Death? | France 24 

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was declared dead on Monday (May 20) after rescue teams found his crashed helicopter in a fog-shrouded western mountain, near the Azerbaijan border. For more, FRANCE 24's Stuart Norval is joined by Kasra Aarabi, Director of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) research at United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI). 

Iran President Ebrahim Raisi Dead In Helicopter Crash | Channel 4 

Well as the crisis in the Middle East continues, one of the main players - Iran - is reeling from the death of its president Ebrahim Raisi. This morning, officials confirmed his helicopter came down in foggy conditions in the northwest of the country - with the foreign minister also among the dead. While Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has attempted to project a sense of calm, Raisi's death creates a moment of uncertainty for a regime that's facing both internal and external pressure. Interview with UANI Director of IRGC Research Kasra Aarabi.  

Death Of President Raisi Could Cause ‘Unravelling Of The Islamic Republic System’ | Times Radio 

“Elections are nothing but a rubber stamp and we have seen unprecedented engineering of elections.” Iran’s 85-year-old supreme leader Ali Khamenei will be focused on who will succeed him after seeing the response to the president’s death, says Kasra Aarabi, Director of IRGC Research at United Against Nuclear Iran. 


Analysis: Iran’s Nuclear Policy Of Pressure And Talks Likely To Go On Even After President’s Death | Associated Press 

While Iran’s nuclear program stands at the precipice of tipping over into enriching uranium at weapons-grade levels, Tehran has held quiet, indirect talks with the United States and invited the head of the United Nations’ atomic watchdog into the country for negotiations. While seemingly contradictory, the move follows Iran’s strategy since the collapse of its nuclear deal with world powers after then-President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from the accord in 2018. Tehran is attempting to exert its own version of Trump’s “maximum pressure” on the international community to see the economic sanctions that have crippled the country’s economy and currency lifted in exchange for slowing down its program.  


As Raisi Funeral Ceremonies Begin, Mother Of Executed Iranians Celebrates | Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty 

As three days of funeral ceremonies began for Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and others killed in a helicopter crash, a woman who lost 11 relatives in executions in 1988 told RFE/RL that she was celebrating his death. Raisi was accused of being on a "death committee," which ordered mass executions at the time. Later, his period in office was marked by a brutal crackdown on nationwide protests sparked by the death of a young woman, Mahsa Amini, in custody.  

Director Rasoulof, Who Fled Iran, Will Attend Cannes | AFP 

Award-winning director Mohammad Rasoulof, who made a dramatic clandestine escape from Iran this month, will attend the Cannes Film Festival for the premiere of his new movie, organisers told AFP on Tuesday. Rasoulof will be in Cannes on Friday when "The Seed of the Sacred Fig" competes for the Palme d'Or, the festival's top prize, its director Thierry Fremaux said. An outspoken critic of the Iranian government, Rasoulof served two terms in Iranian jails over previous films and had his passport withdrawn in 2017. His new film tells the story of a judge's struggles amid political unrest in Tehran, and he had come under pressure to withdraw it from Cannes before the festival opened.  

War On Women And Girls: Iranian Dissidents Testify Before Canadian Parliament | Iran International 

Members of Canadian parliament heard testimony Tuesday from Iranian human rights advocates, dissidents, victims and an exiled artist on the brutality of the Islamic Republic, and called on Ottawa to take more action. Human rights advocate and founder of Stop Child Execution Nazanin Afshin-Jam told the House of Commons Subcommittee on Human Rights that Iran is "waging a war on women and girls.” "Girls are beaten, dragged, screaming into police vans and raped for not wearing a hijab," said Afshin-Jam via remote video.  


Some In Iran Claim US Sanctions Caused The Raisi Helicopter Crash. The Truth May Be More Complicated | CNN 

Even before Iran’s army chief Mohammad Bagheri ordered an investigation into the helicopter crash that cost the Islamic Republic the lives of two of its top politicians, blame was being laid at America’s door. The body of President Ebrahim Raisi was being carefully carried from the crash site as former Foreign Minister Javad Zarif acidly told Iran’s state TV that, “One of the causes of this heart-breaking incident is the United States, which by sanctioning the sale of the aviation industry to Iran caused the martyrdom of the president and his companions. The US’s crime will be recorded in the minds of the Iranian people and history.” US officials quickly dismissed the allegations as “baseless.”  


Iran’s Use Of Proxy Warfare Likely To Persist, Experts Say | The New York Times 

While uncertainty surrounds political succession in Iran after its president and foreign minister died in a helicopter crash, analysts say it is unlikely their deaths will alter the country’s projection of power through heavily armed allied groups in the Middle East. Those groups — Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen, multiple militias in Iraq and Hamas in the Palestinian territories — are central to Iran’s ability to wield influence far beyond its borders despite being under strict economic sanctions for decades. Iran works with these groups through the Quds Force, a division of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The I.R.G.C. answers directly to the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, not to the government run by the president.  


Some Iranians Celebrate 'Butcher Of Tehran' Raisi's Death In The Streets Despite Oppressive Regime | Fox News 

Video shows several Iranians celebrating President Ebrahim Raisi's death in the streets even as thousands participate in mass demonstrations mourning the controversial leader. Fireworks are launched in the night, a woman passes out sweets and several people can be heard cheering in the video posted online by opponents of the regime after Raisi died Sunday in a helicopter crash that also claimed the lives of Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and other officials. Ali Safavi, a member of The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) Foreign Affairs Committee – Iran's parliament in exile – said the demonstrations showed "a glimmer of hope for a future free from the brutal repression that Raisi epitomized." 

Why Israel Is More Concerned Over Iran's FM Replacement Than Raisi's | Al-Monitor 

The Israeli assessment following the helicopter crash that killed Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on Sunday is that the latter's exit from the scene and the battle over the next foreign minister could actually affect the region strategically no less — perhaps even more — than the death of Raisi. The first news that Raisi’s helicopter had disappeared threw Israel's political-security leadership into a state of confusion, said diplomatic sources. The initial intelligence assessment was that Raisi had probably survived what was described as a “hard landing” in Iran’s northwestern mountains. Some Israeli officials even breathed a sigh of relief at the realization that the Iranian leader’s survival would save Israel the effort of disavowing various conspiracy theories about the assassination of an enemy head of state. A scenario in which Israel would have to convince the world that it had nothing to do with Raisi’s demise was the last thing it needed at one of the grimmest points in its history, even as the International Criminal Court was debating whether to issue arrest warrants for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on war crime charges.  

Who Is Ali Bagheri Kani, Iran's New Foreign Minister? | The National 

Iran has named Ali Bagheri Kani as caretaker foreign minister after the death of Hossein Amirabdollahian in a helicopter crash that also killed President Ebrahim Raisi on Sunday. Mr Bagheri Kani had served as deputy foreign minister since 2021 and was Iran's lead negotiator in talks leading to the 2015 nuclear deal with global powers, an agreement also known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. He was also involved in negotiating a prisoner exchange with the US in September last year. His appointment, announced on Monday, is a “positive indication” that Tehran wants to keep open communications with the West, said Mohammad Al Zghool, a researcher on Iran affairs at the Emirates Policy Centre.  


China Pledges Strong Ties With Iran After Raisi's Death | Iran International 

Beijing will continue to deepen its relations with Tehran and safeguard mutual interests, after a helicopter crash that killed President Ebrahim Raisi and his foreign minister, Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister said on Tuesday. “Regardless of how conditions change, Beijing will continue to deepen its strategic partnership with Tehran, safeguard the shared interests of both countries, and continue its efforts for peace in the region and the world,” Wang Yi told Mahdi Safari, Iran’s deputy foreign minister. China and Iran say they are “strategic allies” with close diplomatic and economic ties. Tehran, which openly declares its enmity with the United States and Europe has built its foreign policy on the basis of close ties with Russia and China.  


Iran Says Located Raisi’s Crash Site Using Own Drones, Downplaying Turkish Role | Al-Arabiya News 

The General Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces on Wednesday downplayed the role played by a Turkish drone in finding the crash site of President Ebrahim Raisi’s helicopter, highlighting instead the performance of its own drones. Early on Monday, Turkey’s Anadolu Agency reported that a Turkish Akinci drone had identified “a source of heat suspected to be wreckage of the helicopter carrying President Raisi” and shared its coordinates with Iranian authorities. “Despite Turkey sending a drone equipped with night vision and thermal cameras, the drone failed to accurately locate the crash site due to its lack of detection equipment and control points below the cloud,” Iran’s military said in a statement, referring to the adverse weather conditions believed to be the cause of the crash.  


Western Officials Brace For Volatile Iran After Raisi Death | The Wall Street Journal 

Western officials say they are braced for a period of increased volatility with Iran as the country prepares to choose a successor to President Ebrahim Raisi, who died in a helicopter crash over the weekend. But they said they don’t expect Tehran to make major foreign-policy shifts. 

Foreign Ministers From Iran's Partners Hold Minute's Silence For Raisi | AFP 

Foreign ministers and diplomats from around a dozen of Iran's political and economic partners paid tribute to late Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi at a meeting of a China-led regional bloc on Tuesday. Raisi and Iran Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian died in a helicopter crash on Sunday. Envoys from Russia, China, India and Pakistan were among those who stood for a minute's silence at the start of a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. "Despite these difficult times, Iranian representatives are taking part in this ministerial council for the first time," Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said in a statement released by his office.