Headline RoundupMay 20th, 2024

Iranian President Raisi Killed in Helicopter Crash

Summary from the AllSides News Team

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian were killed in a helicopter crash in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province on Sunday.

The Details: Iran’s state media confirmed the deaths on Monday and Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi cited hazardous weather as a possible cause for the crash. All nine passengers, which also included East Azerbaijan’s governor and representative of the supreme leader to the province, were killed. The group had been traveling home from the Azerbaijan border where they attended the opening of a new dam.

For Context: In Iran, the president is the second-highest ranking government official, next to the supreme leader. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khameini announced five days of national mourning and confirmed Vice President Mohammad Mokhber as acting president. Iran’s constitution requires a presidential election to be held within 50 days to determine the official successor to Raisi.

Global Reactions: The White House was briefed on the situation but has not offered an official comment as of early on May 20. The European Union offered its “sincerest condolences” to the families of those killed in the crash. Officials from Russia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Azerbaijan, and Iraq have all expressed their sympathies to Iran.

How The Media Covered It: Middle East Eye (Left bias) noted that Raisi was “a leading candidate” to replace Supreme Leader Khamenei when he dies. The Wall Street Journal (Center bias) also noted this, and added that he led “a significantly harder-line government than his predecessor.”

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