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Iran president Raisi dies in helicopter crash

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has been confirmed dead in a helicopter crash. 

The chopper, which also had Hossein Amirabdollahian, foreign minister; Malek Rahmati, governor of East Azarbaijan province; and Hojjatoleslam Al Hashem, Tabriz Friday prayer leader on board, crash-landed Sunday afternoon in the province of East Azerbaijan.

Search and rescue teams scoured the mountainous terrain amid heavy fog overnight, and found the wreckage early Monday.

Raisi, 63, was elected president on his second attempt in 2021.

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He was regarded as a potential successor to Ayatollah Khamenei, the country’s supreme leader, who has held the position since 1989.

In 2019, Khamenei appointed Raisi as head of the judiciary.

Raisi was also deputy chairman of the Assembly of Experts — the 88-member clerical body responsible for electing the next supreme leader.

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State media report that the Iranian government held an emergency meeting after the president and some members of the cabinet were confirmed dead on Monday.

Vice President Mohammad Mokhber led the emergency meeting.

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