Ebrahim Raisi
Ebrahim Raisi

No Details on Cause of Helicopter Crash That Killed Iran's President

Ebrahim Raisi and foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian were among nine people killed when a helicopter crashed in poor weather.

Iran’s government today confirmed the deaths of President Ebrahim Raisi and foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian when what media images show to be a Bell 212 helicopter crashed in a mountainous area of Iran's East Azerbaijan province. According to state news agency IRNA, weather conditions were poor at the time of the accident on Sunday. The Tasnim news agency added that seven other people were among the fatalities, including a local governor and a diplomat.

Iranian aviation authorities have yet to explain how they intend to conduct an accident investigation, but in the past it has declined international involvement. The Bell 212 was likely one of the military aircraft acquired by Iran in the 1970s before the Islamic Revolution in 1979 triggered the first in a series of U.S. sanctions against the country.

For decades, Iran’s aviation industry has found it increasingly hard to source parts for Western-made aircraft as international sanctions have widened. Companies there are known to have resorted to manufacturing fake parts and it is also widely understood that some hardware gets imported illegally.

According to Iranian media reports, the helicopter was one of three flying in convoy, with the other two aircraft safely reaching their destination. The helicopters were flying to the capital Tehran, which is around 326 nm from the city of Jolfa, close to where the accident happened.