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EAM Jaishankar condoles deaths of Iran's president, foreign minister in helicopter crash

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar condoled the deaths of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian died in a helicopter crash in the country's mountainous northwest region.

The aircraft, which also carried other officials, had disappeared in the mountains of northwestern Iran.

Jaishankar recalled his meetings with Raisi and Amir-Abdillahian, held in January this year, and said that he is "deeply shocked." 

"Deeply shocked to hear of the passing away of Iran’s President Dr Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister H. Amir-Abdollahian, in the helicopter crash. Recall my many meetings with them, most recently in January 2024. Our condolences to their families. We stand with the people of Iran at time of this tragedy," Jaishankar said in a post shared on social media platform X.

Raisi, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, and seven other people who were onboard the helicopter that crashed on Sunday have died, state media Press TV reported today.

Raisi was returning to Iran following a visit to Azerbaijan when his helicopter came down in bad weather conditions on Sunday afternoon.

Earlier today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the demise of Raisi and acknowledges Raisi's contribution in strengthening India-Iran bilateral relationship.

"Deeply saddened and shocked by the tragic demise of Dr. Seyed Ebrahim Raisi, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran. His contribution to strengthening India-Iran bilateral relationship will always be remembered. My heartfelt condolences to his family and the people of Iran. India stands with Iran in this time of sorrow," PM Modi tweeted.

Nine people were on the helicopter that crashed in northwest Iran on Sunday, as reported by Tasnim News.

Raeisi and his accompanying delegation were returning from a ceremony to inaugurate a dam on the Aras River with Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev.

Following the announcement of deaths of Raeisi and his team, the Iranian cabinet held an emergency session headed by Vice President Mohammad Mokhber, Press TV reported.

Raisi was heading to the city of Tabriz on Sunday afternoon when the chopper ran into heavy fog.

An Al Jazeera reporter said that "looking at the wreckage of the helicopter, the chances of anyone surviving in such an accident are quite slim. We see that the whole cabin of the helicopter is completely burned."

The publication said that Iranian authorities "are saying that some of the bodies were burned beyond recognition, and that they have not been able to identify who is who at the site."

Drone footage of the wreckage taken by the Red Crescent was carried on state media. It showed the crash site on a steep, wooded hillside, with little remaining of the helicopter beyond a blue and white tail, CNN reported. 

For the first time, Iran is going through such a situation. The country has never seen something similar with the president and the foreign minister disappearing in a helicopter crash, reported Al Jazeera. 

Following the report of the Iranian President's death and that of the foreign affairs minister, the government cabinet convened an urgent meeting, IRNA reported.

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