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Iran's president and foreign minister are feared dead in a helicopter crash BBC News

Iran's president and foreign minister are feared dead in a helicopter crash  BBC News


A major search operation is underway in Iran after a helicopter carrying the country's President Ebrahim Raisi crashed in dense fog in the country's northwestern mountains. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian was also on the plane. The men were visiting Iran's remote mountainous border region of Azerbaijan to inaugurate a new dam project. Two other helicopters in the convoy made the trip safely. Rescue teams are trying to find the helicopter, but are being hampered by extremely bad weather. It has been reported that the Iranian army has ordered all necessary resources to be sent to the search area. The Red Crescent is helping with the search. Drones and rescue dogs are being used in an attempt to find the helicopter. Countries in the region, including Turkey, have offered help in the search. Prayers are being held in mosques in Iran. Iran's state television first reported what it described as a “hard landing”. The country's supreme leader Ali Khamenei issued a message of reassurance, saying he hoped God would return the president to the people. He told the Iranians that there would be no interruption in the running of the country. President Raisi has been a key and controversial figure in Iran for decades, seen as a hardliner in the Islamic Republic's leadership. The accident comes at a time of high tension in the Middle East, with the war in Gaza and fears that the conflict could escalate. Israel and the US have accused Iran of supporting Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen. Iran recently fired hundreds of missiles at Israel. An airstrike on an Iranian military base was seen as Israel's response to that attack. Hossein Amirabdollahian is a well-known foreign minister on the international stage, having participated in talks and negotiations regarding Iran's nuclear program. Jane Hill reports from BBC News at Ten's Caroline Hawley. Subscribe here:

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