Thousands Attend Iranian President’s Funeral

( — Thousands of Iranian citizens have attended the state-organized funeral for Iran’s recently deceased president, Ebrahim Raisi, along with eight other officials who died alongside him.

The funeral event comes as Iran’s government started an investigation into the helicopter crash that killed Raisi and the eight other individuals on board, which some Iranian officials have attributed to foul play by nations like the United States. Raisi’s funeral had thousands of attendees and marks a tragedy for the country of Iran, as many viewed Raisi as the next potential Iranian supreme leader after Ayatollah Khamenei.

Iran’s state-operated news agency has shared videos of Raisi’s funeral, which showed thousands of citizens dressed in black crowded around the vehicles transporting Raisi and the other officials who died in the helicopter crash. Iran’s Interior Minister, Ahmad Vahdidi, attended the event and briefly addressed Raisi’s death and how the nation plans to recover. According to Vahdidi, Raisi’s death poses a significant setback for Iran, but the country will recollect itself and have a “brilliant rise” in the coming years. Khamenei has also addressed Raisi’s death and announced a five-day mourning period for Iran.

Raisi’s funeral continued until May 23, at which time his body was transported to Mashhad, the deceased president’s home city, and buried. Raisi’s death immediately prompted accusations of foul play from Iranian officials, despite some investigators citing the helicopter’s crash as the result of an equipment malfunction. Iran’s state media announced the crash but did not confirm if Raisi had died until hours later, once rescue teams discovered the Bell 212 helicopter that Raisi and his eight colleagues had traveled in.

Among the other individuals who died in the Bell 212 crash were several members of Iran’s government, including Hossein Amirabdollahian, the country’s foreign minister. The helicopter used to transport Raisi and the other eight passengers dates back to before the Islamic Revolution of 1979, prompting some aviation experts to speculate the crash resulted from the decades-old helicopter’s technical failure. Iran hasn’t confirmed the cause of the crash and remains adamant that a full investigation is required.

Raisi’s death immediately prompted other world leaders to share condolences with Iran, including North Korea and Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin described Raisi as a “friend” when acknowledging the president’s death. At the same time, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un called Raisi an effective leader and ally of North Korea. The United States also briefly addressed Raisi’s death and expressed support for Iranians living under the current Iranian government.

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