International assistance mobilized for Raisi's helicopter search

AFP , Sunday 19 May 2024

Iraq and Azerbaijan on Sunday offered Iran help in search and rescue efforts after Iranian state media said President Ebrahim Raisi's helicopter was involved in "an accident" in poor weather conditions.

Rescuers heading towards the site of the accident involving a helicopter in the convoy of Iran s President in the Jofa region of the western province of East Azerbaijan. AFP


Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev said his country could help with rescue efforts to find the helicopter of President Ebrahim Raisi, whose aircraft was reportedly involved in an accident.

Raisi visited the province on Sunday to inaugurate a dam on the border between the two countries, accompanied by Aliyev.

"Today, after bidding a friendly farewell to the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi, we were profoundly troubled by the news of a helicopter carrying the top delegation crash-landing in Iran," Aliyev said on social media.

"The Republic of Azerbaijan stands ready to offer any assistance needed," he added.

Also, Iraqi Prime Minister Mohamed Shia al-Sudani "instructed the interior ministry, the Iraqi Red Crescent, and other relevant authorities to offer the Islamic Republic the available resources to aid in the search for the aircraft," government spokesman Bassem al-Awadi said in a statement.

Similarly, Saudi Arabia voiced "great concern" after Iranian state media reported that a helicopter carrying Raisi had gone missing, offering to help with the response.

"We affirm that the Kingdom stands by the sisterly Islamic Republic of Iran in these difficult circumstances and its readiness to provide any assistance that the Iranian agencies need," the foreign ministry of the Gulf kingdom, a longtime rival of Iran, said in a statement.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he was "profoundly saddened" at news of the helicopter accident, and offered "all necessary support" to the search.

"We are following the incident closely, are in contact and in coordination with the Iranian authorities and we are ready to provide all necessary support," Erdogan posted on X, formerly Twitter.

In a statement on X, formerly Twitter, Qatar expressed its "deep concern" over the helicopter of Iran's president and foreign minister and offered "to provide all forms of support in the search".

The Gulf state's foreign ministry spokesman Majed Al-Ansari gave "Qatar's wishes for the safety of the president, the foreign minister, and their companions", the statement added.

Armenia's foreign ministry said Yerevan was "shocked by the news coming from Iran".

"As rescue operations continue, Armenia, as a close and friendly neighbour of Iran, is ready to provide all necessary support," the ministry said on X, formerly Twitter.

Iranian state television announced that "an accident happened to the helicopter carrying the president" in Iran's western province of East Azerbaijan.

Search and rescue team were headed to the remote mountain area, Iranian state media said, adding that Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian was also aboard the aircraft.

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