PM Modi voices deep concern over Raisi’s helicopter crash: ‘Pray for well-being of President and…’

Image Source : NARENDRA MODI/FILE Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi

Ebrahim Raisi helicopter crash: Prime Minister Narendra Modi conveyed profound concern on Sunday regarding the helicopter crash involving Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, the foreign minister, and other high-ranking officials while returning from Azerbaijan to Tehran. In a social media statement, PM Modi expressed deep distress over media reports suggesting that the 63-year-old leader’s journey from Azerbaijan to Iran ended tragically amidst foggy weather on Sunday.

The Prime Minister, in a message, said India stood in solidarity with the Iranian people in the hour of distress. Further, he prayed for the well-being of the Iranian leader and the whole team who was accompanied in the ill-fated helicopter.

“Deeply concerned by reports regarding President Raisi’s helicopter flight today. We stand in solidarity with the Iranian people in this hour of distress, and pray for well-being of the President and his entourage,” Modi wrote in an X post. 

Ebrahim Raisi’s helicopter crashed

According to the state-run IRNA news agency, Raisi was accompanied by Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, the governor of Iran’s East Azerbaijan province, and other officials and bodyguards. State TV said what it called a “hard landing” happened near Jolfa, a city on the border with the nation of Azerbaijan, some 600 kilometres northwest of the Iranian capital, Tehran. Later, state TV put it farther east near the village of Uzi, but details remained contradictory.

Although one local government official used the term “crash” to describe the incident, he admitted to an Iranian newspaper that he had not yet reached the site himself.

Iranian Interior Minister says helicopter compelled to make hard landing 

Meanwhile, a round of prayers has commenced, with state TV broadcasting images of the faithful praying at the Imam Reza Shrine in the city of Mashhad, one of Shiite Islam’s holiest sites.

Addressing the incident, Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi stated, “The esteemed president and his entourage were returning aboard several helicopters when one of them was compelled to make a hard landing due to adverse weather conditions and fog.” He added, “Various rescue teams are en route to the area, but due to the poor weather and fog, it may take some time for them to reach the helicopter.”

“Raisi’s life at risk”

Meanwhile, an Iranian official told news agency Reuters that the lives of Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian were “at risk following the helicopter crash”. The bad weather was complicating rescue efforts, the state news agency IRNA reported. 

In Iran’s dual political system, split between the clerical establishment and the government, it is the supreme leader rather than the president who has the final say on all major policies. But many see Raisi as a strong contender to succeed his 85-year-old mentor, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has strongly endorsed Raisi’s main policies.

Chabahar Port deal

India on May 13 signed a 10-year contract to operate the strategic Iranian port of Chabahar that will help it expand trade with Central Asia.

The Chabahar Port on the Gulf of Oman – which New Delhi had proposed to develop way back in 2003 – will provide Indian goods a gateway to reach landlocked Afghanistan and Central Asia using a road and rail project called International North-South Transport Corridor, bypassing Pakistan.

The long-term agreement was signed by Indian Ports Global Limited (IPGL) and the Port & Maritime Organisation of Iran. It replaces an initial 2016 pact, which covered India’s operations at Shahid Beheshti Terminal in Chabahar Port and had been renewed on an annual basis.

(With inputs from agencies)

Also Read: Raisi, Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian’s ‘lives at risk’ following helicopter crash: Iranian official