The search for a helicopter carrying the president and the head of the country's Foreign Ministry continues in Iran

    Global development 20 May 2024 2520

    On Sunday, May 19, 2024, a helicopter carrying Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi made a hard landing near the province of East Azerbaijan, IRNA reports. Along with Raisi, according to media reports, Foreign Minister Hossein Abdollahiyan, imam of the main mosque of Tabriz Ayatollah Al Hashem and Governor of East Azerbaijan province Malek Rahmati were on board the helicopter.

    Iranian Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi confirmed the information about the incident. The search is underway in the area of the village of Uzi. Rescuers headed to the alleged scene of the accident, however, due to weather conditions and inaccessible mountainous terrain, as Vahidi noted, the search operation may take some time.

    At first, about 20 search and rescue teams were involved, then their number was increased to 40, and after dark - to 65. Military personnel and forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps were also involved in the search. The Iranian Minister of Health is on site.

    The condition of those on board the helicopter is still unknown. An unnamed Iranian official told Reuters that the lives of the President and the foreign minister "are at risk." "We are still hopeful, but the information coming from the crash site is very disturbing," he said. Later, Iranian Vice President Mohsen Mansouri said that contact had been established with two people on board the helicopter. However, he did not specify who exactly they managed to contact.

    Azerbaijan, Russia, Turkey and other countries have offered assistance in the search and rescue operation. The EU has promised to use its Copernicus satellite system to help in the search for a helicopter, and Turkey has sent 32 climbers and special equipment.

    East Azerbaijan is located almost 600 km northwest of Tehran and borders Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Iranian President flew to Tabriz from the province of East Azerbaijan on the border with Azerbaijan, where he took part in the ceremony of commissioning hydroelectric power plants on the Araz River. There were three helicopters in his motorcade. According to Tasnim, two helicopters carrying ministers and officials landed safely.