JUST IN: Helicopter carrying Iran President crashes, President missing

Reports have confirmed the tragic death of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi following a helicopter crash in a mountainous region in northwest Iran.

The crash site was located by rescue teams on Monday morning after the president and his foreign minister had been missing for over 12 hours.

“President Raisi’s helicopter was completely burned in the crash … unfortunately, all passengers are feared dead,” an official told Reuters.

President Raisi, aged 63, was on his way back from a visit to the border with Azerbaijan when the helicopter went down.

He was considered a top candidate to succeed Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as Iran’s Supreme Leader.

In addition to the president, Iran’s foreign minister, the governor of East Azerbaijan province, and other officials were also on board the helicopter during the crash, which occurred in foggy conditions on Sunday.

Initially described as a “hard landing”, the incident prompted Iran’s army chief of staff to deploy all available military and Revolutionary Guard resources for search and rescue efforts, which had been hindered by adverse weather conditions.

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