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Friday, June 14, 2024

Rescuers head to scene of helicopter incident on Iranian president’s trip

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Rescuers in Iran are trying to reach a helicopter involved in “an incident” while travelling with an entourage including President Ebrahim Raisi, state television reported.

There was no immediate elaboration on what happened to the helicopter, nor who was on board.

Semi-official news agencies offered varying explanations for what was happening.

Mr Raisi was travelling in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province.

State TV described the area of the incident happening as being near Jolfa, a city on the border with with the nation of Azerbaijan, some 375 miles northwest of the Iranian capital, Tehran.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi

Mr Raisi had been in Azerbaijan early on Sunday to inaugurate a dam with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev.

The dam is the third one that the two nations built on the Aras River.

Iran flies a variety of helicopters in the country, but international sanctions make it difficult to obtain parts for them.

Its military air fleet also largely dates back to before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Mr Raisi, 63, is a hardliner who formerly led the country’s judiciary.

He is viewed as a protege of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and some analysts have suggested he could replace the 85-year-old leader after his death or resignation from the role.

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