Mourners attend the funeral for victims of helicopter crash that killed Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and others, in Tehran, Iran, May 22, 2024. Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY

TEHRAN (Agencies): : Tens of thousands of Iranians filled the streets of Tehran on Wednesday to participate in the funeral processions of President Ebrahim Raisi and his entourage. The president and his companions tragically lost their lives in a helicopter crash on Sunday.

In the heart of the city, people holding portraits of Raisi congregated around the University of Tehran. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is scheduled to lead prayers for Raisi and his fellow passengers, including Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

The helicopter carrying Raisi crashed in foggy conditions on a mountainside in northern Iran while en route to Tabriz. The group had attended the inauguration of a dam project on the border with Azerbaijan.

A large-scale search and rescue operation involved assistance from Turkey, Russia, and the European Union. State television announced Raisi’s death early on Monday.

Raisi, who was widely expected to succeed Khamenei as supreme leader, was 63 years old.

In Tehran, massive banners have been erected, honoring the late president as “the martyr of service.” Other messages bid farewell to “the servant of the disadvantaged.”

Tehran residents received phone messages urging them to attend the funeral of the fallen leader.

The processions, which will include foreign dignitaries, are planned to commence from the university and proceed to the expansive Enghelab Square in the city center, according to state media.

Funeral ceremonies for President Raisi and his entourage began on Tuesday, with tens of thousands of mourners dressed in black attending in the city of Tabriz and the Shiite clerical center of Qom.

Following the Tehran ceremonies, the bodies will be transported to South Khorasan province before reaching Raisi’s hometown of Mashhad in the northeast. There, he will be laid to rest on Thursday evening after funeral rites at the Imam Reza shrine.

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Khamenei, has declared five days of national mourning and appointed Vice President Mohammad Mokhber, 68, as caretaker president until the June 28 election to choose Raisi’s successor.

Ali Bagheri, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator and former deputy to Amir-Abdollahian, has been named acting foreign minister.

The country’s armed forces chief of staff, Mohammad Bagheri, has ordered an investigation into the cause of the helicopter crash.

During Raisi’s presidency, marked by conservatism, Iran faced mass protests, economic challenges, and heightened tensions with Israel.

Following his passing, condolences poured in from global allies such as Russia and China, as well as regional powers. NATO observed a minute of silence, and Iran’s allies—including Syria, Palestinian militant group Hamas, and Lebanese militant group Hezbollah—expressed their sympathies.

By Media

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